Dinner Seminar Invitations: Avoiding the Red Flags

In our earlier ComplianceConnection blog titled, “Hot Topic! Free Meal Seminars,” we talked about how dinner seminars have come under heightened regulatory scrutiny. But did you know that using certain words and phrases can put you squarely in regulators’ crosshairs?

One word is particularly problematic: Educational.  

Regulators know that the main purpose for these seminars is to generate leads and solicit business so, when they see “educational,” they see a red flag.  That’s because the word “educational” has the potential to mislead a prospective client into thinking that the dinner they’re invited to is just a meal and has no other intent. They might not realize that your  workshop, seminar or presentation is actually an insurance sales pitch.

If these dinners are high on your advertising to-do list, make sure you update your wording choices to keep from raising any red flags. Some examples of how you could update your invitations would be:

  • Change the word “educational” to “informational.”
  • Change the phrase, “You will learn” to “You will hear.”  
  • Change the words “free” and “complimentary”to “no cost” or “no obligation.”

As always, you should include a disclosure that conveys the type of meeting you are hosting. There should be no question in recipients’ minds that you are a financial professional and that the meal they’re invited to attend is a sales presentation. In fact, that point should be displayed prominently in multiple places on the mailer. An example of a disclosure you could use is:

By attending this event, you may be solicited to purchase life insurance and/or an annuity product at a later date

If you have questions regarding this or other compliance-related issues, send them to the Brokers International compliance team at ComplianceConnection@biltd.com. As your partner, we’ll assist you in keeping your advertising on the right side of the regulators.


This information is intended for Financial Professionals who are insurance licensed only. If you are securities licensed please contact your Broker Dealer for their requirements.

These educational pieces are intended to be informative and provide generalized guidance. They should not be construed as legal advice or provide protection against compliance violations brought on by a consumer or state insurance commission. It is the sole responsibility of the financial professional to seek compliance or legal direction specific to their individual situation. These pieces should be used as a means to raise awareness and evaluate business practices.

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