PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine the performance of 19 Malaysian Real Estate Investment Trusts (M-REITs) over the period 1999 to 2014, following the implementation of dividend tax reforms announced in the 2007, 2009 and 2012 budgets.Design/methodology/approachSharpe index, Treynor index and Jensen α are utilized to compare the performance of M-REITs against a newly developed tax-adjusted value-weighted M-REITs index, equity market, property sector and three month Malaysia Treasury Bills (T-Bills). The calculation of M-REITs returns has been adjusted to take into account the dividend tax reforms which have never been considered in previous studies.FindingsMost M-REITs outperform the tax-adjusted value-weighted REITs index, equity market, property sector and three month T-Bills. Property sector performs worst during those periods. Some of the M-REITs have a higher standard deviation than the equity market and the tax-adjusted value-weighted M-REITs index. Most M-REITs have a lower total risk than the property sector. Further analysis shows that before (after) the tax reforms, most M-REITs underperform (outperform) the other sectors. The introduction of the tax reforms benefits both REITs and investors. A significant positive Jensen α for some M-REITs indicates that fund managers are able to time the market or to select undervalued assets.Practical implicationsFindings of the study would enable investors to evaluate the performance of all REITs in comparison to other financial assets during the period of study for better investment decision making. A more accurate assessment on REITs performance that take into account the tax reforms, is available for investors and fund managers to decide on the investment mix to be included in their portfolio. Moreover, fund managers’ performance can be assessed whether they perform better or worse than the equity market, property sector and three month T-Bills.Originality/valueThis study contributes to the scant literature on dividend tax reforms and their implication toward REITs performance. It is the first study to thoroughly assess the returns of REITs by taking into account the changes on dividend tax rates announced in the 2007, 2009 and 2012 budgets.
Journal of Property Investment & Finance – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 6, 2017
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