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Real Estate Investment Trusts in Singapore - Recent Legal and Regulatory Developments and the Case for Corporatisation

Lee Suet Fern & Linda Esther Foo

(2010) 22 SAcLJ 36

The regulatory regime for real estate investment trusts in Singapore (“S-REITs”) continues to be a work-in-progress. The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s initial “light-touch” approach has evolved substantially over the past five years, with the regulatory framework for S-REITs increasingly resembling that which applies to public listed companies. Another significant milestone was the enactment of the Business Trusts Act in 2004 (Act 30 of 2004) which introduced an alternative regulatory framework for existing S-REITs or new trusts that invest in real estate. This article seeks to provide a broad overview of the recent developments in the regulation of S-REITs in Singapore and makes a few suggestions for further reform. In particular, the article questions the continued relevance of the trust structure and split manager-trustee duties for S-REITs and advocates that corporatisation of S-REITs would provide better protection for creditors and unit-holders.