From 1 September 2014 to 13 January 2015, all 16 Belgian SICAFIs switched to the new regime of Regulated Real Estate Companies (B-REIT) introduced by the Act of 12 May 2014.
Why a new legislative framework for these companies?
- The requirements of the AIFM and EMIR directives in terms of risk and liquidity management are inappropriate for the activities of SICAFIs assimilated to undertakings for collective investment.
- This new regime aims to create a legal framework adapted to the activities of “public” real estate investment companies so that it is similar to that in force in other European countries, such as, for example, the SIIC in France or the REIT in the UK and in Germany.
- In particular, the Belgian legislator has adopted in the B-REIT Act the essential provisions of the SICAFI Decree while adapting part of them to take into account the changes in the regulation of European financial institutions.
Which new matters does the B-REIT regime regulate in relation to the previous SICAFI regime?
- Subsidiaries of B-REIT may under certain conditions provide property management services to third parties. According to the FSMA, the B-REIT Act translated here what the SICAFIs were already doing in practice.
- B-REIT must no longer only act in "the exclusive interest of shareholders" (SICAFI plan). It is now the "corporate interest" of the B-REIT which is predominant (shareholder and stakeholder).
- B-REIT are required to incorporate into their internal structure compliance, internal audit and risk management departments.