REITs with female board members get higher returns: study

A national study of the board structures of real estate investment trusts by Ferguson Partners Ltd., a global executive recruitment consultancy, found firms that have had a female board member for more than three years enjoyed materially higher returns than their counterparts without such gender diversity.

According to the study, firms with at least one female on the board garnered higher annual total shareholder return growth rates than their peers without a female board member.

  • 2.6% higher than peers over a three-year horizon
  • 3.6% higher than peers over a five-year horizon
  • 3.4% higher than peers over a 10-year horizon

Of those REIT boards included in the study, 44% did not have a single female board member.

The 2012 study is based on the analysis of 164 REITs spanning multiple property types: multifamily, for sale residential, retail, hospitality, mortgage, office, senior living, industrial and diversified.

“These striking results underscore the importance of diversity on boards and further illustrate that boards that are proactive in the pursuit of diverse perspectives are most apt to succeed,” said William Ferguson, chairman and CEO of Ferguson Partners Ltd.