An investigation into the role of listed property stocks in an investment portfolio in South Africa.
Bekwa, Vuyani Mpumelelo.
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The primary purpose of the study is to carry out an investigation into the role of listed real estate stocks in a mixed asset class investment portfolio in South Africa and what weighting should be allocated to this asset class. The study involved collecting data from the last ten years from January 1995 to December 2004 and then comparing the data against data collected from the investment management industry, especially those entities with exposure to direct property and listed property stock holdings over long periods. The study investigates the benefits of listed property stocks in an investment portfolio in South Africa, and empirically tests the data collected using the mean-variance theory to determine the impact of listed property stocks on the performance (maximising returns) and risk (minimising risk) of investment portfolios. The Elton and Gruber computer programme is used to test the data to give an optimal weighting to the sector and produce an efficient frontier. The weightings are then used to work out the efficiency of a portfolio as a result of the inclusion of listed property stocks, and comparing it to a portfolio of just two asset classes, namely equities and bonds, at 75% and 25% weightings respectively. The results demonstrated the benefits offered by listed real estate and revealed that the sector should be treated as a separate asset class from equities due to lower correlation of returns between these two asset classes. It also demonstrated that an increased allocation to the listed property sector would have resulted in better investment performance over the past ten years. The conclusions consistently pointed to the increased asset allocation of listed real estate in investment portfolios as the best long-term solution to diversification and volatility, as long as the liquidity and size of the sector improves. It is concluded in this study, that investment managers have underscored the relevance and allocation of listed real estate in investment portfolios in the past ten years, thus not optimising the performance and risk of their portfolios, as expected in retirement fund portfolios to the benefits of the members.