About the Business Brokers Association

By J.W. Carpenter , last updated July 22, 2011

The International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) is a non-profit trade group for business brokers and others working in mergers and acquisitions. It provides a range of services to its members, including continuing education courses, professional certification, and two annual conferences. The International Business Brokers Association also has the general goal of promoting and advancing the business brokerage profession. In the United States, there are more than 15 state and regional affiliate associations providing localized services and networking opportunities to IBBA members. As of this writing, the IBBA has over 1,500 individual broker members around the world.

What is a Business Broker?

Business brokers, also known as business intermediaries, facilitate the buying and selling of small and medium size businesses. Business brokers provide a range of services to their clients. They provide business valuation advice, find and screen potential buyers, oversee sales negotiations, and manage a deal from the initial contact through to the closing stage. Business brokers allow small business owners to maintain focus on strengthening the business and its value right up until a buyer is ready to take over.

Benefits of IBBA Membership

Membership in the International Business Brokers Association gives you access to high quality courses and workshops to enhance your business brokering skills and develop your knowledge of best industry practices. Additionally, IBBA members are eligible for the Certified Business Intermediary credential, an internationally recognized designation representing high level training in mergers and acquisitions principles and attesting to a high standard of business ethics.

IBBA members also gain access to a large network of business transactions professionals throughout the world, including fellow brokers, bankers, attorneys, CPAs, and others involved in the industry. Through professional listings, newsletters, twice-yearly conferences, workshops, and local receptions, IBBA members have numerous opportunities to network with others in the industry.

The Certified Business Intermediary Designation

The Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation is the premier professional credential in the business brokering industry and is only available to members of the IBBA. To begin the CBI certification process, an individual must have at least three years of full-time experience in the business brokering profession within the preceding 10 years. A college degree may be presented for up to two years credit toward the experience requirement.

The CBI designation is a significant undertaking. Candidates are required to successfully complete 68 credits of coursework within a five year period. Courses are held alongside the twice-yearly IBBA conferences, and are also offered throughout the year by state and regional IBBA affiliates. Required courses run the gamut from the basics of business brokering to the details of business valuation and negotiation. Once a CBI candidate has successfully passed the required courses, he or she must then pass a comprehensive final examination.

In addition to the professional education requirements, CBI candidates must agree to abide by the IBBA Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is designed to promote general professional honesty and ethical treatment of both buyers and sellers. Any IBBA member found to have violated the Code of Ethics will have his or her CBI designation revoked.

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