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Do Broker Designations Even Matter To Business Sellers?

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Jeff Snell | 04/26/2024
  1. **ABI (Accredited Business Intermediary)**: Offered by the American Business Brokers Association (ABBA), this entry-level designation indicates a foundational level of knowledge in business brokerage. The total cost is approximately $1,000, with about four intense training days required.
  2. **CBI (Certified Business Intermediary)**: Widely recognized as the premier business brokerage designation globally, the CBI is provided by the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA). It involves an investment of approximately $7,000 for initial certification and around $3,000 annually for conferences and continuing education. The total duration is about two years, including attendance at one conference and ongoing educational requirements.
  3. **LCBI (Lifetime Certified Business Intermediary)**: An enhancement to the CBI, this designation is earned by maintaining CBI designation for 12 or more years continuously.
  4. **MCBI (Master Certified Business Intermediary)**: Introduced in December 2023 by the IBBA, the MCBI requires applicants to hold their CBI designation and participate in 10 months of advanced online training in Main Street business brokerage. The cost is less than $3,000.
  5. **LMCBI (Lifetime Master Certified Business Intermediary)**: Currently the highest designation available, with only five holders worldwide.
  6. **M&AMI (Merger and Acquisition Master Intermediary)** designation, which is considered prestigious in the lower middle market. Provided by the M&A Source, a sister organization to the IBBA, M&AMI requires the completion of advanced middle market courses and a requisite number of transactions over $5,000,000. The annual dues are $570. Discounts are provided to joint members of the IBBA and M&A Source.

Don’t cut corners when evaluating the qualifications of your broker. Choosing a broker who lacks the necessary education and training could jeopardize the sale of your business, one of your most valuable assets. Membership in the IBBA and M&A Source, is also a vital consideration.

Don’t put your transaction at risk with a part-time broker without formal training or designations. The sale of your business is not the place for their on-the-job training.


This blog was originally written by Jeff Snell, LMCBI, M&AMI, CM&AP, ABI. Jeff is the founder and principal broker of ENLIGN Business Brokers and Advisors (www.enlign.com), headquartered in Raleigh, NC. For over 20 years, ENLIGN has been providing business brokerage and M&A transaction services to main street and lower middle market business owners across the United States via the Atlas Alliance. He can be contacted at (919) 624-1124 or jsnell@enlign.com.