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APREA seeks RBI approval for overseas funds to invest in debt securities in REITs, InvITs

Friday, 26 Jun 2020
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The Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA), an investment trade body, has approached the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow overseas funds to invest in debt securities issued by Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs). 
 
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in Union Budget 2019, had already allowed foreign portfolio investors (FPI) to invest in REITs and InvITs. However, the enabling mechanism has not yet been put in place. 
 
Capital markets regulator Sebi had also amended the regulations governing REITs and InvITs with effect from December 2017 to provide for issuance of listed debt securities by these trusts. 
 
However, due to lack of enabling provisions under the foreign exchange regulations by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), these business trusts have not been able to source debt funding from FPIs so far. 
 
The government and Sebi have provided appropriate policy frameworks for REITs and InvITs. Once RBI enables FPIs to invest in the debt securities of REITs and InvITs, it will create a more liquid market and improve investor confidence. 
 
The FPI route is expected to support REITs and InvITs raise debts at competitive rates from foreign investors and will also lead to wider participation by institutional investors.
 
This will also provide business trust unit-holders improved risk-adjusted returns due to leveraging. RBI allowed InvITs to access bank lending in October 2019 and APREA is now seeking the same treatment for REITs.

 

 
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