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Fidelity says look beyond UK as nine firms switch to Reit status

Nine companies have conver-ted to Reit status in the inaugural week for the vehicle but Fidelity is warning the choice is too narrow and investors should look beyond the UK.

Fidelity says although the UK Reit market will develop as more firms convert or are set up, the US and Australian Reit markets took around 30 years to evolve.

The nine Reits that launched this week are British Land, Brixton, Land Securities and Hammerson, along with Great Portland Estates, Liberty International, Primary Health Properties, Slough Estates and Workspace Group.

A further eight firms intend to convert or are considering conversion in 2007, including Shaftesbury, Warner Estate Holdings, Big Yellow Group and Derwent Valley Holdings.

Fidelity head of IFA business Peter Hicks says: “It is clear that the introduction of Reits in the UK is a very positive thing. However, with just a small number of Reits available in the early days, investors are not going to achieve the right level of diversification simply by focusing on the UK.”

Reita project coordinator David Butler says: “The total conversion charges are now looking like being just over 1bn – a nice little Christmas gift for the Government. We are looking forward to the end of the week when the markets might become a bit more active but already some share prices in converted companies have gone up.”

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