Atlanta Proclaims, 'Financial Meetings Are Back'

Although they were among the first casualties of the economic downturn, financial meetings are finally returning to Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB), which hosted Primerica Inc.'s annual convention — the city's largest corporate convention for 2011 — June 15-18 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The meeting, which hosted more than 40,000 Primerica representatives who sell term life insurance, mutual funds, loans and other financial products, was expected to generate more than $44 million in direct economic impact for Atlanta. Along with workshops, meetings and exhibits that occupied three wings of the Georgia World Congress Center, it included three general sessions with all 40,000 attendees at the Georgia Dome.

"It's great to have Primerica back in Atlanta," said ACVB CEO William Pate. "We knew financial conventions would be back, once things settled down. Now, we're happy to see that business segment returning with a long-time customer, Primerica, leading the way."

Based in Duluth, Ga., Primerica was last scheduled to meet in Atlanta in 2009, shortly after the financial crisis of fall 2008. Although the company remained financially strong and profitable at that time, it was a subsidiary of banking giant Citigroup and therefore had to cancel the meeting. Since then, the company has gone public, establishing independence that allowed it in 2010 to announce its commitment to again holding its convention in Atlanta.

"As a native Georgian, it makes our return to Atlanta as a 'refounded' public company, with a 34-year track record in Georgia, even more exciting," said Primerica co-CEO John Addison. "Beyond our strong Georgia roots, our convention is international in scope — we [had] representatives attending from all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico."