Investor conferences put the individual at a distinct disadvantage, and are unfair. The conference is usually hosted by a brokerage firms that invite large, institutional investors. Individuals are typically not invited or welcome. After going through the presentation, there will usually be a "break out" session where further questions can be asked.
Investor conferences are a good thing because they help financial planners and other industry insiders learn how to properly manage money. Investor conferences help financial planners and analysts know what products are on the market and how to best select them for discerning customers. This also helps companies like Bank of America provide better service to their customers.
While there is plenty of collusion out there, it is not possible to make every meeting open to every investor every time. I think the companies have a legitimate argument that they have issues to talk about and debate before people at the individual investor level get involved in the discussions.
No, these conferences are not unfair to individual investors. It is impossible to have a conference where every single individual investor has a chance to participate. There are way too many investors, and it would take too much time, money, and space. Even if it were possible, most individual investors wouldn't participate.