The first ever Virtual Financial Fair (FinFair), the first of its kind, launched today. The event, run by Lombard Odier and E-MERGING, hosted 33 exhibitors and over 700 attendees.

We logged into the FinFair and, after creating our own, personal 3D avatar, we were invited into an online, virtual conference hall. Many in the wealth management sector were there and did the same. This unique event allowed us to chat to colleagues, exchange business cards and even connect face-to-face with others via Skype. As E-Merging founder, Olivier Collombin, describes it, it is similar to a ‘B2B speed dating’ event.

Exhibitor booths allowed us to browse brochures, learn more about the companies that were in attendance and talk to representatives of each firm. There are even presentations being held in the virtual auditorium.

It is certainly a novel idea and connects many people in ways not possible before. Meetings can be had without weeks of planning beforehand or even having to leave the office, or desk!

There are some small problems, particularly the speed of it all. This is perhaps due to the larger amount of traffic on the site, but many aspects were slow. It took several minutes to send a message and it was hard to walk down a hallway without the program needing to reload. You quickly get around to everyone in the fair due to the limited number of booths, but for its first ever attempt, that is to be expected.

If successful, E-Merging are hoping to have a FinFair every month. Judging by its debut, it is has a lot of potential and one to watch for the future.