‘Inducement’ anxieties force cancellation of fund managers’ conference

A conference scheduled for Brussels sponsored by some of the biggest fund managers in the UK has been cancelled due to delegate concerns about new ‘inducement’ rules from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The European Research Visit organised by Marketing In Partnership (MIP) had been scheduled for March in Brussels with leading wealth managers and researchers on the delegate list.

Major name sponsors of the event included Jupiter, Investec, Aberdeen Asset Management, Fidelity, JP Morgan, Henderson and Schroders.

Compliance concerns following the FCA’s latest inducement rules appear to have spooked delegates and sponsors who reviewed their decision to attend.

MIP co-founder Helen Wagstaff told the fundweb.com site: “Delegates and fund group sponsors are telling us that compliance is making it difficult for people to justify overseas events where the fund managers are not based. We are probably going to hold the event in London later in the year.”

Recently published FCA inducement rules stipulate hospitality events to be located within the UK and that they are designed for business purposes, such as product training. Payments for food and drink must be proportionate and overnight accommodation only paid for where absolutely necessary.

Grass Roots Group MD for Meetings and Events Des McLaughlin tells CN he sees a continuing trend away from incentive type conferences and says the ‘jolly’ has largely had its day. “Unless someone is at a very senior level, financial companies are making it increasingly difficult to attend anything that could remotely be seen as an incentive. Even site inspections and fam trips are scrutinised heavily by these companies since the introduction of the Bribery Act, so it is not a surprise to me that the location of an event will be increasingly questioned as will the content of the event.”

Healthcare meetings specialist Mark Handforth of Compliant Venues, draws some comparisons with the healthcare sector which has, for many years, been a trailblazer for progressive self-regulation.

“Although the relationship between customers and organisations is different to that between a healthcare professional and a pharmaceutical company many of the approaches are being seen now in other sectors,” he says.

“Appropriateness and how events are perceived by the man in the street is increasingly important. Certainly, where the financial crisis has reduced marketing and specifically event spend, it gives an organisation an easier decision to not bring back events that were expensive and had a flaky ROI value in the first place. Compliance is increasingly changing the events landscape from strengthening the purpose of the event to the logistics decisions.”
 
Do you have news for CN? Email: pcolston@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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