Dow Jones Indexes, Wilshire Associates and Wells Real Estate Funds announced Wednesday the launch of Wells' newest mutual fund, the first licensed to track the Dow Jones Wilshire Global Real Estate Securities Index. The Wells Dow Jones Wilshire Global RESI Index Fund marks the first time the full Dow Jones Wilshire Global RESI, launched in March 2006, has been licensed for an investment product. “As investors increasingly look toward real estate securities globally to diversify their equity portfolios, they require more sophisticated risk measurement tools to benchmark their returns. We launched the Dow Jones Wilshire Global Real Estate Indexes earlier this year to meet this demand, particularly as more institutional and individual investors seek exposure to REITs and real estate operating companies outside the U.S.� said Michael A. Petronella, president of Dow Jones Indexes/Ventures.
The Dow Jones Wilshire Global RESI includes publicly traded securities of real estate operating companies and real estate investment trusts. The Wells Dow Jones Wilshire Global RESI Index Fund (Class A shares: WDGAX, NASDAQ) will seek to provide corresponding investment results by investing in the stocks included in the index. “We're seeing an explosion of interest in REITs and other investment vehicles around the world,� said Leo Wells, president of Wells Real Estate Funds. “Global real estate securities now total nearly $1 trillion in equity. And two dozen countries have created, or are considering, REIT-like structures for investors. We think the time is right to bring this global opportunity to Wells investors.� The Dow Jones Wilshire Global Real Estate Indexes measure the types of global real estate securities that represent the ownership and operation of commercial or residential real estate. These global indexes serve as a proxy for direct real estate investment by institutions. Because actual real estate holdings are bought and sold infrequently, indexing the “market value� of these holdings is slow and problematic, while pension plans and other institutions need a more reliable and regularly available benchmark. The Dow Jones Wilshire Global RESI Index tracks some 240 real estate operating companies (REOCs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs) in 24 countries. To be included, an operating company or REIT must be an equity owner and operator of commercial or residential real estate and must generate at least 75 percent of its revenue from such assets or operations. It also must meet minimum requirements for market capitalization and liquidity. Securities of certain types of companies, such as mortgage REITs are excluded, as are companies with more than 25 percent of their assets in direct mortgage investments.