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REIT Conference Recap

Earlier this month I had an opportunity to attend the Sixth Annual Non–Traded REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) Industry Symposium in Carlsbad, California. This proved to be a valuable opportunity to learn firsthand about an industry that has only been around for about a decade, and is in the process of a tremendous, and for some, a tumultuous transformation.

Thanks to Bernie Madoff and a handful of others like him, the regulatory environment around Non–Traded REITS has, and will continue to change dramatically over the next few years. All for the betterment of the investor.

The fees, or should I say the expenses involved in investing in REITS, are coming down across the board. The transparency of what you actually own and the actual returns the REIT Sponsors are achieving on the money investors have placed with them are now being audited and reviewed by third party unaffiliated companies (all things that an investor normally would take for granted).  Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case for this industry in the past.

There are a number of Non-Traded REIT’s currently being marketed to investors that are paying out a much higher dividend than they are actually achieving. Sound familiar?  I am not looking to pass judgment on the entire industry, because I believe that there are significant opportunities that may benefit clients who are looking for strategies for income producing investments that can offer some protection against inflation. What I am saying, however, is that if you are currently involved in this sector or are considering it, make sure you find an advisor that understands how the industry works.

From what I have experienced, I feel that the Financial Services industry is in a unique position to work hand in hand with the Regulatory Agencies to develop new opportunities for clients to invest in Commercial Real Estate with a higher level of confidence.

I walked away from the conference with mixed emotions.  Part of me felt saddened that some of the offerings currently being marketed by uninformed advisors are likely to fail (be prepared for a round of negative publicity on the industry). The other part of me felt very excited, because there is definitely a place for this type of investment opportunity in most well defined financial plans.

*** Standard Security Disclosures***

Investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors.  There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained.

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