Property companies attending the high-profile Mipim real estate conference in Cannes next week have been told to be on their best behaviour to avoid a repeat of the Presidents Club scandal.
Attendees have previously alleged a seedier side to unofficial events that can take place around the main gathering, such as champagne-fuelled parties on yachts where hostesses mingle with guests.
An industry figure told the Financial Times that developers were thinking hard about whether “sending dozens of people to the south of France for a week’s networking” was “a good use of resources, or great optics”.
Another large global investor said all attendees from their company had been warned to “behave” by senior staff.
Barratt, the UK’s biggest housebuilder, has significantly scaled back its presence at the conference, which it has attended en masse every year for a number of years. It said the week was seen by many as an opportunity to party.
Residential Land, a major property-owner in London, is also missing from an official list of attendees, although a spokesperson for the company said some staff would go.
The conference’s organiser, events company Reed Midem, said it reminded everyone coming to Mipim of its code of conduct earlier this week.
Reed Midem defined inappropriate behaviour as “any form of verbal or physical abuse; the use of depreciative or discriminatory language, gestures or actions; any form of harassment, racism or sexism, inappropriate physical contact, or any targeted comments which may cause personal offence to other individuals.”
Others attending Mipim hope to create a more female-friendly atmosphere. Ivanhoé Cambridge, a Canadian real estate group, has sponsored a women’s networking cocktail at the event.
Ivanhoé, which was previously a major backer of Residential Land, said in January that it would halt all further investment in the UK group following the Presidents Club revelations.