Natasha Boyden Comments: Cantor Fitzgerald Turns Attention To REITS
January 23, 2012, Wall Street Journal
It's hard to ignore the success of real-estate investment trusts. After all, the industry has produced strong returns over the past few years and commonly outpaces the broader equity markets. REITs delivered a total return of 15.1% in the fourth quarter, the best result since the third quarter of 2009. In comparison, the total return for the Standard & Poor's 500 index was 11.8% in the fourth quarter.
So perhaps it's no surprise that Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. said Wednesday it will start coverage of REITs this month as part of a broader expansion of the firm's equity-research division. (This is the second bit of news this week from Cantor to attract our attention.)
Cantor has established a dedicated REIT research team staffed with a handful of analysts who formerly covered the sector at FBR Capital Markets, including newly appointed Managing Director David Toti, who previously headed FBR's real estate research. Other analysts plucked from FBR's REIT team include Sri Nagarajan, who is now Cantor's senior research analyst.
Natasha Boyden, head of Cantor's U.S. equity research, said the REIT performance wasn't a factor in the firm's decision to start covering the sector, but it doesn't hurt. “I think we probably would have done REITs regardless. But, obviously given the fact that they are strong means there is more attention paid to the sector and…that is going to be more helpful as we seek to expand our expertise in that area,” she said.
Cantor expects to officially launch coverage of specific REITs by the end of the month.