Having doctors and nurses is the icing on the cake to create the smallest possible bubble that will keep attendees accountable and not save costs to avoid COVID super-spread.
Brooke’s Note: The demand for in-person RIA conferences is relatively high. Events claim to be full or close to their capacities. The range of personal national conferences is scarce, as many organizers such as Schwab simply rely on the whole idea and others cautiously cancel around the 11th hour. This imbalance suggests that a conference organizer will seriously pay for his money if he / she makes it amid supply chain constraints. In such economic circumstances, it can make sense for organizers to be willing to pay more for an event – especially if it has some catching up to do. The choice of organizers to go ahead but with a whole third-party managed safety plan and, so to speak, ambulance and medical staff literally on hand makes sense – damn it. Not only can this be good administration and encourage timid visitors, it can also be prudent liability management, as this article shows. Not taking extraordinary steps for an extraordinary pandemic situation could mean trouble.
Orion Advisor Services and Morningstar are taking exceptional steps for their upcoming conferences to counter the recent COVID-19 outbreak, including providing on-site medical staff to ensure no one takes a viral load home to work colleagues and loved ones.
Aaron Klein: ‘Sponsorships are completely sold out, tickets are as good as sold out.’
Both the Omaha software company and the Chicago data, software, and money management company will pay medical workers – at an estimated cost in the thousands of dollars – to perform health screenings, temperature checks, and perform COVID tests.
They even advise attendees if they’re affected by the coronavirus delta variant that is now ravaging states like Florida, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota.
Orion is hosting its Ascent conference in Scottsdale, Arizona next week, August 30th through September 1st. The organization has already reached its personal capacity.
We felt it was important to host the conference while also catering to those who want to be digitally connected, “said Eric Clarke, CEO of Orion.
“We invested a lot of extra time, resources, planning, etc. to help those who attend in person feel safe.”
Orion does not require vaccinations, although it “strongly recommends” vaccinations. Masks and hand sanitizer are included in each participant’s equipment and are available throughout the venue.
Maintaining the bladder
Planit Inc., an Omaha, Neb. Event and meeting management company, will be providing health management for the conference.
“Healthcare professionals will be available on-site during conference appointments to provide free assessments for those who may be feeling ill,” it says.
Masking is compulsory for unvaccinated participants and the wearing of masks is “strongly recommended” for all according to the website. Each participant’s welcome pack includes hand sanitizer, additional face masks, and a disinfection key.
In order for the bubble to remain controllable, participants and their guests must wear name tags at every event. They must answer health questions in advance of the event before attending the sessions.
Arizona has seen over 3,000 new cases every day for the past few days. Over 3,700 new cases and 63 deaths had been reported as of Friday morning. Maricopa County, home of Scottsdale, has 633,745 confirmed cases, the highest in the state.
Just over 55% of the Arizona population have had at least one vaccination, and 48% are fully vaccinated, ranking 31st among the states, according to USA Facts.
Participants by appointment
The Morningstar Conference will be held September 22-24 at McCormick Place, Chicago.
In order to attend the conference, participants must have a daily health check-up and have their temperature measured.
Morningstar provides on-site medical care through In-House Physicians, a Naperville, Florida company that “provides medical care to acute health attendees at corporate meetings and events,” according to its website.
“The GPs will oversee the daily health checkups and temperature controls that are required,” says spokesman Landon Hudson. He adds that n family doctors can also perform COVID tests if necessary.
At Morningstar, all attendees must wear face covering “unless they are medically incapable,” the website says. The company says it will revise this requirement “closer to conference dates as needed”.
The company also advises attendees that additional security protocols may be required “as required by the city, state, and McCormick Place.”
Attendees who do not follow COVID guidelines “will be asked to leave the conference and receive a refund for their conference registration,” according to the Morningstar website.
In Illinois, 61% of the population is fully vaccinated, while in Chicago, according to local statistics, just over 70% of adults and 50% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 received at least one dose.
In the past week, 25,636 new COVID cases, 176 deaths and 168,000 vaccinations were carried out nationwide, according to the local NBC subsidiary.
One of the challenges facing conference organizers is that many local communities and states are changing regulations on a daily basis due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.
Illinois, for example, has just initiated a mask mandate for all indoor activities.
Conferences state that their rules can change at any time if local rules change. For example, WealthStack needs proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend its September 27-29 conference at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida.
“As the CDC and local health guidelines can shift daily until the conference, we will adjust our protocol in real time to reflect the latest and greatest security practices,” said Lindsay Tis, Brand Strategy Director at Informa, who leads the WealthStack conference.
DeVoe & Company is hosting an M&A succession planning conference in San Francisco on October 28-29, at which Schwab’s RIA boss Bernie Clark will speak.
Entrants must be vaccinated “as per San Francisco’s current mandate with respect to certain types of interior furnishings,” according to the website.
“Given the ongoing changes in guidelines and requirements, we will keep all attendees informed of procedures closer to the event,” the website says.
Vaccination or not
The Wealth Management Gala will take place on September 9th at the New York Athletic Club in New York City, but with complicated rules.
“We ask everyone to avoid handshakes in favor of contactless greetings and to reduce the need for queues by staggering admission times and updating the floor plans.”
The event follows New York City prescribed protocols regarding COVID-19. The rules even change depending on the time you attend the event.
For example, guests entering the New York Athletic Club in the afternoon will be required to provide proof of vaccination prior to entering the event, and guests without proof of vaccination will not be allowed to attend.
However, anyone who only takes part in the event in the evening must provide proof of vaccination or at least a negative COVID-19 test within the last 24 hours.
The questions about masking are just as complicated.
His Q&A states that local guidelines for masking differ between fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
Unvaccinated Individuals: Requires a social distance of two meters and the wearing of a mask at all times unless the signage allows it.
“Vaccinated Individuals: No social distancing or masks required unless local signage instructs it.”
Riskalyze will host its Fearless Conference in Palm Springs, California from September 29th to October 1st and may exceed the company’s attendance in 2019, said Aaron Klein, CEO. The company hopes to have more than 700 participants.
Aaron Klein, CEO of Riskalyze, told RIABiz that his company follows state and local guidelines that do not require vaccinations or COVID testing for indoor events.
“The sponsorships are completely sold out, the tickets are as good as sold out and the demand was extremely high and well above the pace of 2019,” says Klein.
His conference does not require vaccinations or COVID tests. “State and local health guidelines haven’t mandated this for an event our size, and we follow those guidelines,” he says.
Conferences held during the recent spike in COVID can be held legally liable if someone becomes infected with the virus while attending. In these cases, a standard of negligence applies in accordance with the statutory provisions.
“In other words, the main question is whether the association has met the prevailing standard of care to provide a reasonably safe and healthy environment for its participants,” said ASAE, a trade group that represents associations.
However, the association warns that the standard of care will continue to develop.
“In that context, it is generally determined based on a combination of applicable state and local government mandates, non-binding but mandatory federal guidelines (such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for large gatherings), and industry best practices,” it said in the message states.
“If your association can demonstrate that it meets all or most of these health and safety standards for factors within your control – and that you have done everything in your power to ensure that the venue does the same – then it would be difficult for a participant who was infected with COVID-19 at the event to hold the association liable for negligence. “
Security deposit for events
The fall RIA conference season could end before it starts for many businesses.
Technology tools for today, the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and Invest In Others have already scrubbed events in the face of the recent surge in pandemic. See: The 2021 RIA Event Comeback Crashes as FPA, ‘Invest In Others’, and T3 cancel in-person events, but WealthStack, Riskalyze, and SALT aren’t put off
T3 decided on Friday (August 20) to postpone its annual for-profit conference.
“Everyone was getting nervous about the Delta variant,” Joel Bruckenstein told RIABIZ.
Perhaps Charles Schwab & Co. decided against hosting their annual IMPACT event in the fall last spring.
But it is still planning face-to-face meetings in 10 cities on October 18 with indoor and outdoor areas, says spokesman Peter Greenley. The locations will be announced in mid-September when the IMPACT registration starts.
“At all locations, the COVID-19 protocols follow local regulations. We will increase our commitment to health and safety through the conference website and communication. “