The Financial Planning Association has pulled the plug on its in-person 2021 annual conference, citing the “surge of the Delta variant and concerns over the increasing number of Covid-19 cases across the country.”
But as recently as last week, FPA spokesman Ben Lewis said, “We are continuing to monitor things and will follow CDC recommendations and guidelines in partnership with Columbus Public Health, Franklin County and the Greater Columbus Convention Center.”
This would have been the FPA’s first in-person event since 2019, and it marks the second consecutive year the association has had to cancel its annual conference.
Last year’s fall event, which was slated to take place in Phoenix, was cancelled six weeks before the scheduled kickoff. According to FPA Chief Executive Patrick Mahoney, arrangements have been made to bring the conference back to Phoenix in 2023.
Mahoney said negotiations are underway with the Columbus venue, and it is not yet clear whether the arrangement will include bringing the conference back there in the future.
Advisers who paid a registration fee of approximately $200, depending on their status with the FPA, will be refunded, and all FPA members will have access to an upcoming schedule of virtual presentations originally scheduled for the September conference.
Mahoney said it was too soon to say how expansive the access to the presentations would be for people who aren’t affiliated with the FPA, but said the organization is hoping to provide continuing education credits
He said the virtual presentations should be available within the next few weeks via a portal on the FPA website.
The annual conference, which normally attracts about 2,000 attendees, was on track for about 1,000 this year, and Mahoney said the lower attendance was “100% due to the pandemic.”
In terms of scheduling an in-person event, which would have been the FPA’s first since 2019, Mahoney said nobody anticipated that something like the delta variant would push the pandemic this far into 2021. “We had every reason to believe an in-person event was not only possible but warranted for this year.”
In addition to negotiating with the Columbus-area event venues, he said the FPA is also having conversation with sponsors and other partners that will also have to adjust to the cancellation of the event.
“There was no second-guessing around canceling this year’s conference; we have to put health and safety ahead of everything else,” Mahoney said. “I think at end of the day we’re all going to land on level footing, and I think everyone will be OK.”
The FPA’s 2022 annual conference is scheduled for Oct. 3-5 in Seattle.
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.