Bombay Chamber’s Landmark Conclave on SM REITs: Ownership to Opportunity Focuses on Fostering Economic Growth & Investor Confidence

India’s real estate sector is undergoing a revolutionary transformation driven by proactive regulatory reforms. These changes are enhancing accessibility, transparency, and stability for investors. Landmark initiatives include the RERA Act of 2016, which boosts developer responsibility, and the introduction of GST, which streamlines taxation. The advent of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) regulations in 2014 has also established a new asset class, with the first Indian REIT listed in 2019, offering retail investors a gateway into institutional real estate.


The latest regulatory advancement by SEBI, the introduction of Small and Medium Enterprises REITs (SM REITs), is set to democratise real estate investment further. This new framework lowers entry barriers and enhances regulatory oversight, providing benefits such as liquidity and investor protection mechanisms. The move is expected to bring the real estate market into the sachet economy, making high-quality real estate investments accessible to a broader audience.


It is with this background that the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted the Conclave on SM REITs: Ownership to Opportunity, a pioneering event addressing the recent regulatory advancements in the real estate sector. This conclave, held under the aegis of the PE&VC Committee, highlighted the transformative potential of Small and Medium Real Estate Investment Trusts (SM REITs), newly regulated by SEBI as of March 8, 2024.

In her welcome address, Pinky Mehta, President Designate of the Bombay Chamber and Director at Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance, emphasised SEBI’s framework as a game changer. She highlighted the opportunity for investors to own fractions of rent-yielding real estate assets with a minimum investment of Rs 10 lakh. This move supports asset monetisation for developers and fosters growth in the sector.

Ashith Kampani, Chair of the PE&VC Committee and Chairman of CosmicMandala Group of Companies, spoke on SEBI’s regulations for SM REITs democratising access to real estate investments. He highlighted the expected tenfold growth in the fractional ownership market, projecting assets under management to reach $5 billion by 2030.Kampani noted that SEBI’s new regulations not only democratise access but also standardise investment practices, fostering a more inclusive and dynamic real estate market.

Delivering the keynote address, Shri Pramod Rao, Executive Director of SEBI, provided a compelling narrative on the historical context and transformative potential of SM REIT regulations. Rao recounted SEBI’s journey from banning unregistered Collective Investment Schemes in the 1990s to the establishment of SM REIT regulations in 2024, marking a significant milestone in regulatory evolution. He delved into the intricacies of the SM REITs regulations, sharing his expertise and painting a vivid picture of their transformative potential for the real estate sector and the broader economic landscape.

Sushri Kamala K, Chief Regulatory Officer of BSE, emphasised the importance of popularising SM REITs and leveraging existing distribution channels for rapid rollout. She reflected on the transformation of exchanges into transparent, governed entities and advocated for a strategic approach to maximise growth potential. Kamala highlighted how exchanges have evolved over the past 30 years, becoming listed entities governed by high standards of transparency and governance.

The conclave featured two engaging panel discussions, providing a comprehensive view of the regulatory and market dynamics surrounding SM REITs. The first panel, moderated by Gaurav Karnik, Head of Real Estate Tax Practice at EY, focused on the regulatory aspects of SM REITs. Panelists included Shiv Parekh, Founder and CEO of hBits, Sudarshan Lodha, Co-Founder of Strata, Sandeep Parekh, Managing Partner at Finsec Law Advisors, and Nikhil Agrawal, Chief of Staff at WiseX. They offered insights into compliance requirements and investor protection mechanisms.

The second panel discussion, moderated by Neil Borate, Deputy Editor at LiveMint, explored the market opportunities and competitive landscape of SM REITs. Panelists Manish Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO of RealX & GREX, and Member, PE&VC Committee, Bombay Chamber of Commerce, Rahul Rai, Head of Real Estate Investment Business at ICICI Prudential AMC Ltd, Varun Gupta, CEO of Groww Mutual Fund, and Monang Doshi, Senior Director, Capital Markets & Land, CBRE India, discussed future trends and growth prospects in real estate investment.

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