SGX and UOBAM tie up to launch green REIT index

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Singapore Exchange (SGX) and UOB Asset Management (UOBAM) have tied up to create the iEdge-UOB APAC Yield Focus Green REIT index to track listed real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Asia offering higher dividend yields and better environmental practices, the companies said in a joint statement Friday.

The index, which is part of the SGX iEdge offerings, covers 50 higher-yielding REITs with better environmental performance based on the GRESB real estate assessment on factors including energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and green building certifications, the statement said.

GRESB, previously called the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, is an organisation providing standardised ESG (environmental, social and governance) data to financial markets.

Ng Kin Yee, managing director and head of data, connectivity and indices at SGX, said the new index was “uniquely underpinned” by the exchange’s position as an international REIT hub.

“Sustainable investing is now a key consideration in portfolio allocation, and this is driving demand and innovation in partnership with iEdge’s indexing services,” Ng said in the statement.

Thio Boon Kiat, CEO of UOBAM, said that while investors are keen to invest in sustainable companies with good ESG metrics, the data on ESG performance can be difficult to find.

“The APAC Green REIT Index seeks to respond to market demand for ESG-focused investment products,” Thio said in the statement.

SGX’s proprietary indexes are marketed under iEdge branding. For the full fiscal year ended 30 June, SGX reported S$80.6 million in revenue from market data and indexes, up 36 percent from the previous year.

UOBAM is a subsidiary of UOB; it manages collective investment plans and discretionary funds. As of end-August, UOBAM said it managed more than S$37.9 billion in clients’ assets.