The year started with the positive news that Portugal will be introducing a REIT regime. Called the SIGI and effective as of February 1, 2019, it brings the total number of REIT countries in Europe to 14. Apart from significantly boosting the Iberian and European property markets, this is also a great way to ring in EPRA’s 20th anniversary; a year in which we will look back on the milestones achieved but, more importantly, we will look ahead to the future opportunities for the sector.
Our first large-scale corporate access event, held in London towards the end of last year, proved to be very successful with both companies and investors. You can read more about it in this edition. From the positive feedback we received, we will hold two more corporate access events in 2019, with the first one set for June 26. I know this will become an increasingly important and regular part of the calendar as EPRA continues to act as a neutral industry platform in the wake of the MiFID II legislation last year.
I am also pleased to announce that, this year, we will be creating a new committee covering PropTech and Innovation. How companies adapt their business models to new technology in areas such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, or harness innovation to investing in sustainable assets, will be critical to future success. The new committee will, therefore, help members keep up to speed with the latest and most promising developments in the market.
Chief executives will also be able to share ideas and experiences on PropTech, and other challenges, with their peers as EPRA relaunches its popular CEO Conference in a new format in 2019.
Following the research success last year, highlighted by the CEM Benchmarking study, I intend to further promote our research output. I would, therefore, like to welcome Dilek Pekdemir as EPRA Research Manager. Dilek joins us from Cushman & Wakefield, bringing many years of expertise with her.
Over the coming months, we will provide more information on the programme for the 2019 EPRA Conference to be held in Madrid from September 10 to 12. I can already share with you the identity of some of our invited keynote speakers: Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Finance Minister during the country’s sovereign debt crisis and leader of the negotiations with Greece’s creditors in 2015, and Stephanie Flanders, Senior Executive Editor for Economics at Bloomberg and former BBC Economics editor and Clinton advisor. I hope to see you all there to further advance our sector.
On a final note, I would like to welcome our newest members Aldar Properties, Arima Real Estate SOCIMI, CASS Business School, Castellana Properties SOCIMI, Cibus Nordic Real Estate, Godewind Immobilien, LXI REIT, Orascom Development Holding, The PRS REIT, RBC Europe, Shurgard Self Storage, VGP and Yew Grove REIT.