Top firms join forces to create industry standard on Reits

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith and Slaughter and May are set to meet to forge an industry- standard approach to real estate investment trusts (Reits).

The firms are to schedule a summit after winning mandates to advise the UK’s leading property companies on the first Reits.

Herbert Smith corporate partner David Patterson said: “There needs to be a common approach to the UK Listings Authority, otherwise each company would need to open a dialogue and it would be like reinventing the wheel each time.

“There is a sense the major companies want to be doing the same thing. None of them want to be off on one route and find later that the others are doing something else.”

British Land, Land Securities and Hammerson asked the firms to meet to develop a common approach. High on the agenda will be ways to handle the restriction on shareholdings of more than 10 per cent.

Freshfields and Slaughters are advising British Land and Land Securities respectively on the corporate and tax issues, while SJ Berwin and Nabarro Nathanson have held on to the property work for their longstanding clients. Herbert Smith is advising Hammerson on all aspects of its conversion.

The convention of corporate and tax advisers is understood not to include lawyers from firms that are solely handling the property aspects.