The NIRI annual conference, which was scheduled for June 14-17, has been postponed until further notice, with hopes to reschedule for early December, NIRI president and CEO Gary LaBranche says.
NIRI announced the decision to its members on March 26, after the board unanimously voted to postpone the conference last week. LaBranche says NIRI’s leadership is working with the venue – the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach – to secure a new date. All hotel bookings will be transferred to the new date, once confirmed, according to NIRI’s statement.
The city of Miami issued a shelter-in-place order, effective March 24, which ordered all non-essential workers to stay at home for the foreseeable future.
‘We’ve been monitoring this very carefully over the last two to three weeks,’ LaBranche tells IR Magazine. ‘As the situation nationwide deteriorated, we began actively discussing what an alternative might be. We were most importantly mindful of our need to do our part to make sure we all contributed to ending the crisis. It became clear with the rapid acceleration of Covid-19 that while normally our duty is to bring people together, it’s our responsibility to keep people apart.’
NIRI’s annual conference typically attracts more than 1,000 attendees. The association was also required to cancel The Big I conference, which was scheduled for March 24 in New York City, as well as a number of chapter events. LaBranche says the association is providing virtual opportunities for members to interact, including through webinars and NIRI’s revamped e-groups. The scale and complexity of the annual conference, coupled with NIRI’s resources, meant switching the event to a virtual format was not on the table.
Following the decision to postpone the conference, NIRI’s board voted to allow the management to withdraw part of the association’s financial reserves. ‘This is not a permanent solution,’ LaBranche says, but it helps cover the shortfall left by postponing the annual conference, which generates half of NIRI’s annual revenue.
The German investor relations association, DIRK, announced a full cancellation of its summer conference earlier this week.