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Alternative Market Briefing

Changes ahead for REITs, dark pools, open-ended fund structures in Hong Kong

Friday, February 28, 2014

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

Hong Kong's financial regulator the SFC is nearing the end of it's one-month consultation period on proposals to amend the Code on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT Code) to introduce more flexibility in the investment scope of real estate investment trusts. The SFC is proposing to allow REITS to invest in property development and related activities insofar as it only accounts for 10% of a REIT's gross asset value.

In addition, the regulator is proposing allowances that will let REITS purchase vacant land, again up to 10% GAV as long as it is part of a property development project. The properties completed under such property development projects will be subject to a minimum two-year property holding period requirement.

"These proposals have taken into account both the protection of investors’ interests and the long-term development of the Hong Kong REIT market which is key to Hong Kong’s continued development as an international premier asset management centre," said Mr. Ashley Alder, the SFC’s Chief Executive Officer.

The consultation period concerning REITS was the first in a spate of changes and proposals being considered by the regulator. Another seeks to codify rules around dark pools, on these rules the regulator is proposing to enhance and standardize the regulatory obligations imposed on Hong Kong licensed corporations that operate dark pools, by including within the Code of Conduct comprehensive requi......................

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