‘Poland could have a REIT regime soon’

The long-delayed REIT legislation in Poland could be approved by the new Government, delegates heard at the Responsible Real Estate Investment in Poland panel discussion at the recent CEE Summit in Warsaw, which was organised by Poland Today and Real Asset Media.

‘The Ministry of Finance believes the REIT legislation is a very good solution and I can promise we will be working to have it approved,’ said Maciej Zukowski, Director, Ministry of Finance and President of the Supervisory Board, PFR Nieruchomosci. ‘I cannot give a precise time-frame, but I know that the Prime Minister is very keen for the legislation to be approved to give security to investors’.

Until now, he said ‘unfortunately the law got stuck after the first reading because of strong opposition from the National Bank of Poland, that cited social and political risk. They were afraid that all the deposits would disappear and be invested in REITS which is not a reasonable fear to me. It was a very emotional response to a rational argument, but we must do a job of persuasion now’.

People have been working for three years to establish a REIT regime in Poland, but nothing has happened yet, said Malgorzata Kosinska, President, REIT-Polska Association. ‘However, I want to remain optimistic and believe the rational reasons will sink in’.

A REIT regime could really support the development of the Polish market, said Dorota Latkowska, Partner, REINO Capital Partners: ‘People are waiting, the market is ready and we must also meet the expectations of international players’.

The obvious example to follow is Spain, where the introduction of REITs has led to many IPOs by Spanish companies and a thriving market. Now Portugal has followed in its neighbour’s footsteps to emulate its success.

‘REITs guarantee the highest levels of transparency, scrutiny and corporate governance,’ said Tobias Steinmann, Director Public Affairs, EPRA. ‘You have an army of analysts and investors looking into the companies, every figure is audited and triple-checked, which makes the sector attractive for foreign investors’. 

Fourteen countries in Europe have a REIT regime.

‘The wording of the current Bill is not perfect, but I hope it becomes law because it will introduce individual investors to the market,’ said Karolina Sulma, Head of Legal Department, Skanska Property Poland.

It is all about the democratisation of real estate, agreed Steinmann: ‘You can invest €500 rather than €100,000 and still get dividends’. 

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