REIT executives approach the 50-year history of the industry from their own viewpoints. Still, their opinions on what REITs have done for the real estate industry, where they are going and their growing role in most investors' portfolios quite naturally intersect. NAREIT's 2011 Chair Bryce Blair, chairman and CEO of AvalonBay Communities, says: "REITs have behaved well during an unprecedented period in our economy. It is hard to dispute whether it is income, return or liquidity they have a very solid place in investors' arsenal of investment options." Going forward, the most important move the REIT industry can make is to continue to modernize and advance the REIT's approach to real estate investment, says Mark Decker Sr., managing director and head of real estate at Robert W. Baird & Co. and former president of NAREIT.
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