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Middle Market M: Handbook for Investment Banking and Business Consulting by Michael R. Nall, Christian W. Blees, Robert T. Slee, Kenneth H. Marks

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CHAPTER 9

Professional Standards and Ethics

The mergers and acquisitions (M&A) marketplace is somewhat chaotic, highly fragmented, and often fails to capture any substantial efficiency in scale, particularly in the lower end of the middle market with private companies valued at less than $150 million.

Without significant regard for the very special personal financial planning needs of the business owner, this market is now served by numerous advisors and intermediaries ranging broadly from accountants and management consultants to investment bankers to small business brokers. Unfortunately, some of these current market participants are less than fully qualified or reputable. Investment bankers tend to concentrate on the larger deals only and may take on a middle market business client only as an accommodation or fill-in activity. For reasons of economics, they primarily focus on servicing publicly traded companies and financing engagements, rather than the full-service corporate financial advisory needs of small to midsized private business clients. Because of these current market realities, many business owners often lack a knowledgeable and trustworthy M&A advisor.

America's private, family-owned businesses represent a market sector ideally suited to the services of the M&A advisor. The greatest part of America's wealth lies with these private, family-owned businesses. Currently, 7 million of the 29 million business establishments in the United States have one or more employees. ...

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