Investor Ph.D. Series: ADRs, and REITs …Oh My!

Contributed by: Angela Palacios, CFP® Angela Palacios

Dorothy risked everything and traveled into the unknown when going into the haunted forest on her quest to return to Kansas.  At the Center, we prefer to walk in with our eyes wide open. Our Investment Department and Investment Committee conducts thorough research before recommending securities for your portfolio. Investors and advisors tend to stick with what they know when building their portfolios. In doing so, they can overlook opportunities to potentially increase returns or add diversification.  In other cases, investors may jump into less familiar asset classes at the wrong time.

In this installment of Investor Ph.D. we want to take you beyond just investing in domestic equity and preferred securities explained by Nick Boguth. Following are some assets we have considered that may not be at the forefront of your mind.


REITs or Real Estate Investment Trusts can offer the benefits of diversification, income stream and capital appreciation to an equity portfolio. A REIT is a company that owns income producing real estate. REITs can trade similarly to a stock traded on a stock exchange and be highly liquid or they can be private, non-liquid investments. They pay out all or most of the income they receive from their properties as dividends to investors and, in turn, investors pay the taxes on those dividends. Typical REITs can own commercial or private real estate including apartments, shopping malls, hospitals, hotels, nursing homes, industrial facilities, infrastructure, offices, student housing, storage centers, and timberlands.

A REOC or Real Estate Operating Company is similar to a REIT. The distinction that separates them is a REOC will take the earnings and income streams from their investments and reinvest into the business rather than paying it out to the shareholders. An investor would not expect an income stream from this type of investment, only capital appreciation.


ADRs, or American Depository Receipts, are shares of a foreign company that trade on an American stock exchange. ADRs make investing in foreign securities much easier than having to factor in currency exchanges, costs, and logistics of trading on a foreign stock exchange. A bank purchases a block of shares from the foreign company, bundles them, and reissues on a domestic exchange denominated in U.S. dollars. The U.S. investor avoids foreign taxation while the foreign company enjoys increased access and availability to the wealthy North American markets. Once the ADR is listed on the U.S. stock exchange its price is driven by supply and demand. This can result in pricing of the security here to not follow exactly the pricing of the security in its home market. When this happens there is an arbitrage opportunity if the price is too high or too low when you translate its value back into the value in the home country’s currency and exchange. ADRs offer diversification and capital appreciation for investors by adding an international component to portfolios.

We have owned these types of investments for our clients through some of our money managers. We tread carefully into these spaces as many investors have been reaching for yield causing these investments to appear richly valued compared to their historical valuations.

Utilizing these types of securities doesn’t have to be as scary as it was for Dorothy to travel into the haunted forest. Arm yourself with knowledge and a good Financial Planner to help make the best decisions for your financial plan!

Angela Palacios, CFP® is the Director of Investments at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Angela specializes in Investment and Macro economic research. She is a frequent contributor The Center blog.

The information contained in this post or blog does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Andrea Palacios and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. This information is not intended as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security referred to herein. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. International investing involves special risks, including currency fluctuations, differing financial accounting standards, and possible political and economic volatility.

Every investor's situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.