The Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Midwest Region Meeting, held August 23–24 at the newly built InterContinental Chicago O’Hare, provided an intimate environment for planners and partners to learn and connect, with ample opportunity for one-on-one networking.
Informative sessions focused on new technology with James Spellos, CMP, of Meeting U.; a review of FINRA regulations that relate to meetings with Jennifer Litchfield of Princor Financial Services (see sidebar); and topics such as “Goals, Attitudes, and Behaviors—What Creates Value.” Attendees also participated in roundtable discussions on how to demonstrate value to our partners. The packed agenda featured a panel of hospitality partners offering new ideas on how to maximize budgets for décor, entertainment, and more.
The InterContinental Chicago O’Hare hosted a reception and dinner to round out the one-and-a-half-day event. A special thank-you to the InterContinental and to all speakers and attendees for their participation!
FINRA Tip Sheet
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority rules prohibit a firm, or a person associated with a firm, from accepting or offering non-cash compensation in connection with the sale and distribution of securities products. “Non-cash compensation” can cover everything from a gift basket to a plane ticket.
So, as Jennifer Litchfield, assistant director of compliance, Princor Financial Services Corp., asked attendees at the recentMidwest Region Meeting, how can a company host a meeting for FINRA-regulated producers that doesn’t involve offering non-cash compensation?
The answer lies in FINRA’s own exceptions and interpretations. One exception is that companies may pay for hotel rooms, transportation, meals, and materials associated with educational or training meetings. “The primary purpose of the meeting must be education and/or training,” Litchfield said. “FINRA has been clear to offer interpretive guidance that there is to be no entertainment associated with educational and training meetings.”
Another exception relates to gifts. Companies are allowed to give gifts worth less than $100 (per rep, per year), occasional meal or event tickets, or logoed items of nominal value.
Here are Litchfield’s FINRA dos and don’ts for education meetings:
- Confirm whether the invitee is FINRA-registered
- Get broker/dealer approval
- Host meals, snacks, hotel, transportation for invitee
- Disclose all costs associated with event
- Provide ample substantive material
- Book an appropriate location
- Stick to promotional items or gifts of nominal value
- Provide entertainment
- Pay expenses for guests of invited persons
- Choose venue based only on attractions/accommodations
- Give gifts of substantial value
- Pay for extra nights at hotel
- Allow individuals to attend without approval from their broker/dealer