Last fall, MSCI announced the upgrade of real estate to a stand-alone sector in GICS®, the global industry classification standard jointly developed by MSCI and Standard & Poor’s, carved out from the financials sector. The change, which is slated to take effect at the close of business on Aug. 31, recognizes real estate’s distinct characteristics and prominence in the global economy.

Public Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) have increased their share of the global equity universe, as regulations around the world have loosened and a steady stream of initial public offerings and capital increases have seen REITs grow in volume (see below exhibit).

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