The Financial Planning Association’s Annual Conference 2021 is coming back as a live event in Columbus, Ohio, Sept .22 through Sept. 24.

It will be the association’s first major in-person event since the start of the pandemic. While the FPA urged attendees to follow CDC, state and local guidelines regarding Covid safety, the organization said it will not put a limit on attendance nor require that people wear masks.

FPA said in the announcement that virtual events held in recent months, including the 2020 Annual Conference, were helpful for advisors, however, “the spirit of community that is commonly found at in-person events was absent. This year, FPA is focused on bringing back that unique sense of community central to the FPA experience before the pandemic, beginning with the FPA Annual Conference this September.”

“Now is the time to reconnect as a community where our members can talk, share, and grow with each other. I can think of no better opportunity to rekindle that sense of community than at the Annual Conference in Columbus,” FPA CEO Patrick D. Mahoney said in a statement.

This year’s event will be smaller than in previous years because some members may still hesitate to travel and the FPA wants to exercise caution, although there is no size limitation for the event, according to the conference registration website page. Traditionally, the event draws about 2,000 advisors. The FPA said it is working with the Greater Columbus Convention Center, which is where the conference will be held, to take extra precautions.

Hand sanitizer stations will be installed throughout the convention center, personal protective equipment kits will be available and attendees are encouraged to follow CDC, state and local guidelines. The FPA noted that Ohio and Franklin County, where the event is being held, do not have any Covid mask mandates, and that the CDC has said that vaccinated people can generally forgo masks and social distancing.

Designated entrance and exist areas to the exhibit hall and breakout rooms will be available to spread out gatherings of people more evenly throughout the convention center, the FPA said. 

The convention center has earned the Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR accreditation, which is the cleaning industry’s only outbreak response and recovery accreditation for facilities.

As in the past, the agenda will focus on best practices and new opportunities for advisors and on networking. A diverse representation of advisors and experts will be featured on the program, the FPA said.

“Our team is hard at work developing an event that is needed now more than ever. I cannot wait to welcome our members in Columbus and join with them in the spirit of community that is so important to the FPA experience,” Mahoney said.

Registration is now open with a special early bird rate of $799 for FPA members and $999 for nonmembers. Early bird registration closes July 9, when rates increase to $949 for members and $1,149 for nonmember.