REGIONAL More than half of meeting planners surveyed in a new study feel that risk is not properly mitigated in their organisations.

This is from new research by American Express Meetings & Events studying the risk that companies can be exposed to when expenses and activities are not managed through a clear and comprehensive programme.

Revealing gaps in established policy and also between policy and practice, some findings include: 52 per cent of planners do not receive a budget when meeting planning begins; 23 per cent of planners sign contracts when only 6 per cent state that planners are allowed to do so; 68 per cent of leaders believe transparency of all data is top priority but 85 per cent of meeting planners use spreadsheets for budget tracking.

Additionally, 64 per cent of planners currently do not have a method to track meeting attendees in a time of crisis, while 62% of all planners said they do not have access to international medical and security assistance during one.

American Express Meetings & Events for Japan, Asia Pacific and Australia director, Danielle Puceta, says the research highlights the disparity between the precautions and procedures meetings leaders and planners feel should be or believe to be in place, and actual current activity.

“It demonstrates how crucial it is for companies’ meeting planning processes to be formalised, documented and controlled as a means to minimise risk.

” The legal/regulatory category has been cited as one of the most important areas of opportunity of meetings management by both leaders and planners.

“Financial penalties, reputational damage and even legal action can result from not properly managing legal and regulatory requirements. So it’s not surprising that these categories are of most concern to meeting planners and leaders,” Ms Puceta said.

She recommended that companies develop standard addenda and review processes for ancillary contracts, as well as a contract signing authorisation matrix outlining the appropriate levels of staff allowed to sign them.

“In an environment of increasing regulatory scrutiny and heightened awareness around security and safety issues, complacency in the meetings and events planning process can have serious financial, legal and reputational consequences,” Ms Puceta said.