So after three years in Berlin, FundForum, Europe’s largest asset management industry conference, is on the move again.
Next June the jamboree is to take place in Copenhagen. The official explanation is that, after three years in Berlin, the InterContinental Hotel – one of the few hotels in the German capital large enough to host a conference of FundForum’s size – will be closed for refurbishment.
Speaking to The Lens in Berlin at this summer’s conference, many FundForum regulars regretted the conference’s move from Monaco several years ago and doubt whether Copenhagen’s Bella conference centre – located between the city centre and Kastrup airport – will be as fun as Monaco, or Berlin.
The attraction of Monaco, for many, was the fact that activity easily spilled out from the conference centre across the streets and shoreline of the diminutive principality.
But, as public acceptance of tax havens has turned following the financial crisis, the image of asset managers wheeling and dealing on luxury yachts in the azure waters of the Mediterranean – or having a flutter in the grandiose Monte Carlo casino – meant that FundForum’s days in Monaco became numbered.
The not infrequently voiced criticism of Berlin was that, compared with Monaco, delegates spent most of their time cooped up in the conference centre or a handful of nearby hotels and restaurants.
To be fair, in the two years that The Lens attended the conference in Berlin, FundForum went to some lengths to balance the high seriousness of the daytime seminars with more light-hearted evening downtime.
This year’s edition, for example, offered the opportunity to attend a networking evening at a lakeside bar in the Tiergarten.
More sensationally, it also featured a closing night circus-themed party – complete with acrobats on stilts, clowns and jugglers.
Holding the shindig away from the plenary room where delegates had spent the previous three days – for example in one of Berlin’s basement nightclubs – would, though, have been more atmospheric.
The Lens takes the view that occasionally changing the venue for a conference of FundForum’s standing is a good thing.
So long as delegates to next year’s FundForum are given the opportunity to go downtown and explore Copenhagen there can be few places more delightful than Scandinavia in midsummer.