Estienne de Klerk has been elected Chairman of the SA REIT Association, which represents the South African listed REIT (real estate investment trust) sector.
SA REIT members comprise all publicly listed SA REITs – a sector with the market capitalisation of more than R300bn. The REITs influence our economy and the quality of people's lives with their property assets.
Estienne is SA CEO of Growthpoint Properties and a well-respected voice for the sector. He has been involved in banking and listed property for nearly 25 years.
Taking up the role of SA REIT Chairman continues Estienne's dedication to industry leadership. He is a Past President of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) and represented the industry in the Property Sector Charter negotiations. Estienne is a long-standing member of the SA REIT Association, having served on its Exco and as Chairman of its Taxation and Regulatory committee since inception, where he laid the groundwork for the country's REIT framework.
Estienne says that the property industry and REITs are often misunderstood. "Property is a distinctly unique asset class, and REITs are complex operating businesses. Local and international research shows that property portfolios perform better when professionally managed and that REITs outperform physical property portfolios. REITs are a liquid investment, which you can buy and sell cheaper and quicker than physical properties, and they offer a tax-efficient structure."
He adds, "REITs offer a unique investment proposition that satisfies both income investors seeking yield and equity capital investors seeking total return. While SA REITs are not immune to the struggling SA economy, they offer less volatility and their dividends are highly predictable and reliable with the potential for good medium- to long-term capital appreciation. A growing number of REITs have diversified internationally, offering an investment that is disconnected from the SA economy for those seeking this option."
Estienne takes over from the association's immediate past Chairman, Izak Petersen, who is CEO of Dipula Income Fund. "Izak successfully steered the association through tumultuous times because of the tough economy and company-specific issues that impacted the sector and the association. We thank him for his valuable contribution over the past two years," notes Estienne.
As the unified voice of REITs, SA REIT plays a decisive role for the sector, providing advocacy in matters of common concern, preparing opinion and policy for interacting with stakeholders, representing the industry in meeting challenges within the sector, and boosting awareness of REITs as a unique asset class that creates and preserves wealth. It also educates about and promotes the merits of REITs to current and potential investors and stakeholders.
Estienne notes that SA REIT will continue to build on the excellent work already achieved in these areas. Specifically, it aims to settle various unresolved issues around the REIT tax dispensation with National Treasury, including unlisted REITs. It will also address the many laws and regulations introduced each year which impact property owners, and REITs specifically, in collaboration with SAPOA. SA REIT and its members have been at the forefront of transformation in the sector and will continue to drive transformation with the Property Sector Charter Council. It will engage with the industry regulators, including the JSE, on sector-specific accounting and disclosure issues and continue to garner support for good governance and transparent reporting.
SA REIT will also continue to offer valuable opportunities for its members to engage on topics of interest and critical issues of local and global relevance. The next SA REIT Conference will take place on 2 July 2020.
The SA REIT Association's newly elected executive committee includes:
Chairman: Estienne de Klerk (Growthpoint Properties)
Treasurer: Rob Hawton (Vukile Property Fund)
Chairman Accounting and JSE Committee: Bram Goosens (Equites Property Fund)
Chairman Marketing Committee: Andrea Taverna-Turisan (Equites Property Fund)
Chairman Regulation and Taxation Committee: Gerald Völkel (Growthpoint Properties)
Chairman Legal and Competition Committee: Desiree Nafte (Hyprop Investments Ltd)
Chairman Property Sector Charter Committee: Shawn Theunissen (Growthpoint Properties)