One Person’s Opinion Regarding the IBBA (for members only)

One Person’s Opinion Regarding the IBBA (for members only)

The following is an opinion by Tom West.

Many of you may be unaware of what has been transpiring over the past few years within the Association (IBBA). What follows is strictly my take on the events, but the ultimate conclusion could, in my opinion, be catastrophic for both the IBBA and its subsidiary, the Source.

Some years back, the late Darrell Fouts saw a need among those IBBA members who were focused on what is now termed “the middle market.” When he got the approval to go ahead with his idea, he, along with others created several courses and programs designed for the middle market broker. This was all done with IBBA support and funding. The Source, created as a subsidiary of the IBBA, filled a void and a need within the IBBA. The Expo which has been a great success, thanks to Bob Machiz, was just one of the programs developed within the Source, again with IBBA support and initial funding. Thanks to Darrell and others, the Source became an integral part of the IBBA. I should point out that shortly before he died, I had a lengthy conversation with Darrell. He was adamant that the Source should be and should continue to remain a part of the IBBA, just as if we had a group that specialized in medical practices, for example.

Over the past few years, I sensed a change in the air. A few members who were very much involved in middle market deals began to build the Source away from the main stream IBBA. They developed their own courses, their own designation, created their own conference (as part of the IBBA conference, but prior to it). They became more active in the governing of the IBBA, encouraging Source members to be IBBA Board members. However, as more Source members became involved in the actual operation of the IBBA, the Source slowly seemed to pull away from the main stream IBBA. Some members suspected a “hidden agenda.”

A year or so ago, the IBBA Board passed a bylaw essentially separating the Source from the IBBA. It didn’t quite read that way, but several of the past presidents saw it for what we believe was a first step in making the Source a separate association. The rules were changed in that one could join either the Source or the IBBA, the Source leaders claimed that they encouraged their members to join both. Many IBBA members, including myself, believe that the goal is to pull out of the IBBA and maintain the Source as a separate group. Part of this disassociation, many believe, is to take the name, the course and the start-up funds from the IBBA. These funds belong to the IBBA and the same is true of the name, the courses, etc.

Thanks to a few of the past presidents of the IBBA, the IBBA membership was alerted to what many feel is an attempt to take IBBA property and use it to create a new association. If enough of the membership votes to force the Board of the IBBA to withdraw the bylaw and one pending, this would allow the IBBA to continue to own and operate the Source and disallow any separation of the Source from the IBBA.association. (Interestingly, many Source members are not IBBA members and should not be allowed to participate in this upcoming vote.)

I am adamantly opposed to the Source pulling away from, withdrawing from, or separating from IBBA. I was one of the founders of the IBBA. My wife and I ran it for 10+ years before turning it over to an association management company. Our profession needs an industry association for all business brokers, and a few of its members should not be permitted to basically pull a part of the association away. I urge all IBBA Members to vote NO on the proposal – all ballots must be received by February 17, 2012. I strongly feel that if the Source and the IBBA go their separate ways, neither will survive. This would mean that the designations that business brokers have worked hard and spent a great deal of money on would have no or little value. The same could be said for the Source middle market designation.

I should add that I had not until this writing, January 27, 2012, received a ballot. I mentioned this to a past president who immediately notified IBBA Headquarters.  I just received a ballot with an apology. If you have not received a ballot, please contact IBBA headquarters immediately. I would also appreciate hearing from any IBBA member who has not received a ballot. Also, be aware that the ballots are not numbered.