Part I: Europe’s trade associations pen open letter to policymakers on Brexit threats to real estate sector

Sixteen of Europe’s prominent trade associations for the real estate sector and have jointly written an open-letter to UK policymakers on the potential implications of Brexit on the European real estate investment sector. Over the next two days, we take a closer look at the key issues raised.

The consortium of sector trade associations and research bodies – including INREV, EPRA, CREFC Europe, BPF, IPF, RICS and the AREF – have identified six major challenges for the European real estate sector posed by Brexit which policymakers on both sides of the Channel must be mindful of.  Here are the first three:

  • Avoiding new barriers: “Europe’s real estate sector, as well as those investing in it through equity or debt, seek a future relationship between the UK and the EU that preserves the flow of skills, capital and investment between the two.”
  • Maintaining market access: “A legal framework that both provides access to EU markets for long-term investors, fund managers and lenders in the UK and that allows those based in an EU member state the same access to the UK market will be better for everyone.”

The open letter states that this framework should cover:

  1. the investment activities of long-term investors such as pension funds and insurers;
  2. the supply of credit by banks and non-bank lenders;
  3. the marketing activities of fund managers as they raise funds;
  4. their managing activities, including investing and realising investments in real estate; and
  5. recruitment and retention of professionals and other workers by all parts of the industry.
  • Protection of legitimate expectations and rights acquired: “Rights already granted to market participants must be protected so that fund managers can continue to manage, and investors can continue to invest their capital across the European economy. If the application of the principle of the free movement of capital is to be reduced for flows across the Channel, it is important that pre-existing rights, obligations and expectations are adequately protected. Grandfathering provisions (and frameworks such as AIFMD and MIFID) and appropriate transition periods are among the ways that the negative effects of the changed relationship can be mitigated.”

The second group of three major issues will be summarised in tomorrow’s daily bulletin.

The consortium stated in its open-letter:

“The specific conditions of the UK’s departure from the EU, the nature of the future relationship that is put in place and the timing and process for these negotiations are of profound importance to the European real estate investment industry. We are committed to ensuring that the hundreds of billions of euro that institutional investors from around the globe have invested into the European economy through real estate are not put at risk and, moreover, that the sector can continue to support the economy.”

james.wallace@realassetmedia.com