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ISLAMABAD: The Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on Tuesday introduced amendments to the Real Estate Investment Trusts Regulations (REITs), 2015.

An official statement said the changes are in line with the SECP’s efforts to foster growth of the REITs. The amendments are aimed at providing regulatory environment to formalise the country’s real estate sector and promote documentation of the economy.

The regulator approved these amendments following a comprehensive review of the regulations, primarily focusing on simplified regulatory requirements, unit holders’ protection and industry dynamics.

The amendments include the concept of private investors, details on eligibility criteria to invest in REIT scheme, introduction of grace period for mandatory listing, requirement of valuation from two separate property valuers at the time of transfer of real estate to REIT scheme, enhancing REIT Management Company’s (RMCs) capacity to borrow and issue right units.

The amendments also include the requirement of unit holders’ approval in case of major decisions pertaining to REIT in order to protect their interest and enhance their role in the decision making process.

The SECP, prior to approving these amendments, consulted with stakeholders including RMC, Mutual Funds Association of Pakistan and trustee to revisit the existing regulatory framework for REITs.

The proposed amendments were also notified to solicit public comments which were subsequently incorporated.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2018