Friday, November 25, 2011

The Mystery of REITs

I read with interest Mr Colin Tan's article in Today newspaper regarding REITs.  It is titled: "A decade on, REITs remain a mystery"

Indeed, after ten years since real estate investment trusts (REITs) were listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, it seems that many people (including me) still do not really understand much about this asset class and the investment opportunity/risk involved.

I started taking note of REITs sometime back due to the potential dividends that I could receive.  It seemed like a choice investment instrument for me as I was really into income investing and was looking for ways to increase my passive income. My first investment was in First REITs. I subsequently divested it because it was too heavily focused on healthcare with its assets largely in Indonesia.  But while REITs are usually positioned as defensive play, I can agree with Mr Colin Tan that for Singapore REITs, many of them are still on the acquisition trail and are trying hard to expand their portfolios.

What does this mean for investors?  It simply means that once can expect money to be raised through rights issue. If one does not subscribe to the rights issue, your overall shareholdings as a % drop.  Whether this translates to a drop in distribution is probably a study to be taken up by somebody more experienced.  But I do agree that it seems that many of the REITs are linked to their parent companies and it might be questionable how the valuations are done (including of course the timing of the transaction).

The domestic market is also pretty small.  And I guess there are certain economies of scale required before REITs should start expanding overseas.  (Just think about the airfares that have to be paid for management to do the site visits, meetings, etc).  Of course, REITs are also tied closely to the property market and rental market and one needs to keep in mind all these factors when investing in them.  If one invests in REITs which has properties overseas, you are also exposed to other country risks that are involved.

Nevertheless, REITs still feature in my portfolio. I still intend to purchase more and diversify across the various REITs in order to diversify my risk accordingly.

Well, REITs is still a mystery to me in many ways and I am still slowly learning more about them day by day.  In a sense, they look simple.  But when one studies them further, you will come to realise that there are actually lots of complexities involved.

2 comments:

  1. No mystery. You just need open up your mind and open wide your eyes. Good dividend yield stocks can still be found in non REITs sector; but you need to be a good boy and wait for Great Robinson Sales.

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  2. I caught Steve Keen's interview on BBC Hardtalk this week and he says we r already in a great depression. What do u think?

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