American International Group Inc. is having to defend a conference it held for independent financial planners, even though sponsors and attendees paid 93% of the conference costs.
An ABC affiliate, KNXV, produced a segment suggesting that executives from AIG, New York, had been “partying on the taxpayers’ dime” at an asset management conference at a resort in Phoenix.
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, put out a statement saying he was “shocked and disappointed” about the conference report.
AIG Chairman Edward Liddy says KNXV and other news organizations are describing the conference incorrectly.
AIG held the seminar to court 150 planners who could recommend AIG products, and sponsors and the planners themselves paid about all but $23,000 of the $343,000 in conference costs, AIG says.
“The financial planners are responsible for generating almost $200 million in revenue this year for AIG as of Sept. 30,” Liddy says. “It is essential for AIG to conduct seminars of this kind to keep independent financial planners abreast of investment products and services including those offered by AIG.
AIG approved the Phoenix conference because it provides the kind of communication AIG must conduct to maintain sales and repay the U.S. taxpayer, Liddy says.