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NEW YORK CITY-REITs are becoming more important vehicles worldwide, according to Wouter Weijand, global head of property for ABN AMRO Asset Management, who addressed the Fiabci-USA VIP luncheon. He also noted that the globalization of property rights is also a key issue facing the industry.

“The whole word is going REIT,” he said. “REIT my lips.” He noted that REIT structures are coming to England and Singapore, among others.

He noted the importance of instituting global property rights, an issue Fiabci is actively working on. “We need government intervention, tight planning,” he said, adding that the better values are realized through zealous city planning.

The money out there chasing properties also came up. “The wall of money–the enormous amounts of money in real state are a little bit scary,” he said. “People go into real estate because of a crush in the equity market.” Due to M&A mania, investors are spending on the global front.

Weijand also addressed the outsourcing concern. “People talk about outsourcing. Labor is easy to shift, but you’re not shipping the Chrysler Building to Bombay. It comes back to property rights. Real estate is the last local asset class. You can’t just move it.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Equity Office and Residential chief Sam Zell during a joint meeting of Naree and Fiabci in late May. Zell, whose portfolio today includes 128 million sf of office space and 192,000 apartment units, told the combined crowd that the REIT model–once the target of raised eyebrows–is becoming the global model for an industry moving away from one-off transactions and into the public marketplace. “We need a rule of law and consistent world standards,” he stressed, especially to address such issues as outside advisors that such countries as Japan are adopting. He cited the potential conflict of interest that some foreign REITs could encounter if they eschew the US self-advisory model.

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