Three months after Ken Fisher’s crude remarks at an industry event prompted several advisors and executives to speak out in favor of codes of conduct for conferences, the T3 — for Technology Tools for Today — conference group is instituting rules for its events.
“No one single thing triggered this,” said Joel Bruckenstein, T3 producer, in an interview. “I’ve never heard about any misconduct at events I’ve attended over the years, especially at T3 events, and thus did not feel we had to do this earlier.”
However, after the Fisher affair, Bruckenstein did get “a few emails from past attendees and speakers” suggesting the T3 group consider issuing such a code for its events.
A recent ThinkAdvisor poll of more than 1,300 financial professionals found that the majority of both men and women believe Fisher’s remarks were inappropriate (70% overall) and that his banning from two events was appropriate (84% overall).
“We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Demeaning others in any form, be it words or imagery is not appropriate for our conference venues …,” the T3 code states. “Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.”
(The group is hosting the 2020 T3 Advisor Conference Feb. 17-20 in San Diego and its first T3 Cyber University event, focused on cybersecurity and offering continuing education credits, on March 4 near Dallas.)
It defines harassment as “offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, business model and/or technology choices, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other T3 events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.”
The rules include sponsors. “Both staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment,” according to the code.
T3 organizers may warn offenders or expel them without refunds. “Being tired, drinking alcohol, hearing others say and do inappropriate things, etc. are NOT a valid excuse,” it says.
Broker-dealer Cambridge Investment Research adopted its code of conduct in November. Based on “recent non-Cambridge, industry events, we believe it is time to formalize a Cambridge Code of Conduct that aligns with our values and reflects the inclusion and respect we already expect at Cambridge hosted events,” Executive Chair Eric Schwartz and President & CEO Amy Webber told advisors at the time.
— Check out How to Stop Bad Conference Behavior, According to a Psychologist on ThinkAdvisor.