Your Industry  

Cost of a networking event - and the regulator’s view

This article is part of
Guide to Networking Events

Jay Naylor, marketing manager of Personal Touch Financial Services, says cost depends on number of delegates, quality of venue and location, as well as the amount of branding and technical assistance required.

But she says a low budget would typically be less than £1,000, a mid-budget is about £1,500, while a top budget is more than £2,000 based on 20 delegates, outside of London, buffet lunch included and simple branding.

Mark Hutchinson, head of marketing at the Personal Finance Society, says more lavish events can costs tens of thousands of pounds when they are professionally hosted at a prime venue, with celebrity speakers, cocktails and fine dining.

Article continues after advert

Video recording and editing for online playback to engage your wider client base can also add hundreds of pounds at least to the costs.

Mr Hutchinson says ultimately it is the value that your clients and potential clients take away that is important, although he adds you should decide if guests will go away with an Oscars style goody bag or a pen with your firms logo.

If you are offering your expertise, Victor Sacks, IFA of Ringrose Grimsley Ltd, says it is even acceptable for an attendee to contribute towards the cost of the event and pay £10 to £15 for breakfast or dinner with you.

The regulator on networking events

In terms of the structure, cost and frequency of events, Mark Hutchinson, head of marketing at the Personal Finance Society, says this is purely a commercial decision for each firm.

If you wanted to send your clients home in a personalised Bentley then Mr Hutchinson says that is your prerogative (as long as the commercials work for your firm). In terms of content then Mr Hutchinson says you are bound by the normal rules for investment advice.

So, he says for a group of disparate clients and potential clients the focus should be generic and educational.

Jay Naylor, marketing manager of Personal Touch Financial Services, says events should not be designed to be a commercial revenue stream, but to deliver a platform for sharing ideas and knowledge.

Providers and lenders can take part in these events and pay towards the cost of their participation so long as there is a genuine business purpose and the contribution is reasonable and proportionate, she adds.

The details of this are clarified in the Supervising Retail Investment Advice: Inducements and Conflicts of Interest paper released by the FCA in January 2014 – Guidance Consultation.

As ever, Victor Sacks, IFA of Ringrose Grimsley Ltd, says the regulator will want to make sure that if you are talking actual products, you are giving information and not advice and that your regulatory status is displayed.