At the end of August, benchmark providers Standard & Poor's, Dow Jones and MSCI will promote real estate from an industry group within the financial sector to a sector of its own. As such, real estate will become the 11th sector within the Global Industry Classification Standard framework. (The other 10 are: consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financials, health care, industrials, information technology, materials, telecommunication services, and utilities.)

The addition of the real estate sector is the first since the creation of the GICS structure in 1999, and will provide the newest sector with greater visibility within investment indexes. The newly minted sector will include real estate investment trusts, real estate management companies and development companies. Mortgage REITs will stay classified within the financial sector. This move is a validation of liquid real estate securities as a distinct asset class with a place in every diversified investment portfolio.

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