Effective August 2016, the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) was updated to create a new sector for real estate companies. "Real estate" was moved from under the "financials sector," and promoted to its own sector. The Real Estate Investment Trusts Industry was renamed "Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts." (Mortgage REITs will remain in the financials sector under a newly created industry and sub-industry called "Mortgage REITs.")

The GICS system is managed by MSCI Inc. and S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC.

The change will impact the composition of indices and stock baskets that are created around the relevant GICS, including how they are described in relevant offering documents and related risk factor disclosures. Some analysts also expect that the change may result in increased interest from many retail investors in the REIT sector, due to its increased prominence.