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Support for $100k FMA conference

There's support from the financial advice industry for the Financial Markets Authority spending $100,000 on its recent conference.

Wednesday, July 6th 2016, 6:00AM 2 Comments

by Susan Edmunds

The event has come in for media criticism, where it was compared to a smaller-scale $25,000 Commerce Commission staff development event.

About 160 staff and members of the board attended the FMA event at the Crowne Plaze in Auckland. The final bill came in at just under $95,000, including venue hire, food, drinks and airfaires. Speakers and facilitators cost $18,000 and the media panel were given bottles of wine.

A spokesman said it was the first conference since September 2014 and many new members of staff had joined the FMA since that time. He said the FMA was a big organisation and there was a cost associated with flying 60 members of staff up from Wellington.

Fred Dodds, chief executive of the IFA, said $100,000 was not a lot to spend on a conference for 160 people.  He said it was likely many government departments would spend more than that.

"Criticism from the adviser world would be silly. It boils down to what it costs to fly people there and if you fly 60 staff, that would cost $20,000, then there's $150 each for food and drink, and speakers. It's not like they spent $100,000 on booze."

Adviser Murray Weatherston agreed. He said if speakers were paid to present to the conference, the bill would quickly add up.

"I know what it costs to put on a SiFA conference and if we paid speakers our cost would be much greater. It doesn't seem exorbitant to me."

The event came in $15,000 under budget.

The FMA will spend $285,000 on staff training in the 2016/17 financial year.

Tags: FMA

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Comments from our readers

On 7 July 2016 at 11:53 am Tash said:
Surely the question should be..."what outcome will the conference deliver?" Spending that money is only disgraceful if the FMA staff's ability to better regulate with more knowledge and understanding is not suitably advanced.
On 13 July 2016 at 9:10 am Graeme Lindsay said:
Well said Tash. The focus should be on value, not cost/price.

Susan would be well advised to research the value obtained by the participants when preparing articles like this, rather than just the cost.

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