The Singapore skyline, with a view of major properties held by REITs. (Photo: REITsWeek)

Singapore is becoming a regional hub for products built around REITs as the market matures and investors seek to diversify their holdings, say analysts cited by S&P Global in its recent report.

Three REIT-focused exchange-traded funds have launched in Singapore in recent years and Singapore Exchange (SGX) launched two international REIT futures in August 2020.

REIT-focused robo-advisers, or digital platforms that use algorithms to invest and manage funds, have started attracting customers, the report noted.

Analysts cited by S&P in the report further predict that more of these products will become available as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses return to normal.

"This is a sign of a maturing market. As the REIT sector grows over a period of time, we expect more such instruments like ETFs and futures products [to be launched], and robo-advisers to get bigger," said Vijay Natarajan, a Singapore-based analyst at Malaysia's RHB Bank.

According to Natarajan, products like futures contracts and ETFs, or services like robo-advisers, provide various options for different kinds of investors who want exposure to Singapore's growing REIT segment.

"I would expect more of these three things, rather than a new, different product," he added.

Chief executive of the REIT Association of Singapore (REITAS), Nupur Joshi, described these financial products as providing investors with portfolio diversification.

"It is a sign of the growing sophistication of the market and of the interest shown by international investors in Singapore," Joshi said.

The S&P report can be viewed here.

By Shariffa Al-Habshee

Shariffa joined REITsWeek in 2017, and monitors Asia-Pacific REITs for the publication.