ASIS Revenue Falls 50%, Hit By COVID

By John Honovich, Published Feb 18, 2022, 08:55am EST

ASIS International's FY 2021 revenue fell by more than 50%, as its prime money maker, GSX, was impacted. This compounds ASIS problems whose net assets have been declining for years.

IPVM Image

Inside this note, we examine ASIS's financials, the main drivers of the organization's business, and the challenges for ASIS' future.

Sources

ASIS reports its finances in 2 ways, (1) via its annual "State of the Associaton" (see 2021 report and 2020 report) and (2) via annual Form 990 filings to the US government (2021 and 200 are not yet available, 2019 Form 900 is here). Note: ASIS tells IPVM that the "State of the Association" represents ASIS and its affiliates (e.g., ASIS Foundation) while the 990 only represents ASIS International.

FY2021 Revenue and Expenses

ASIS revenue fell from $27 million to just $13 million in FY 2021 and the organization's expenses ($18 million) exceeded its revenue by $5 million. The chart below contrasts 2021 and 2020 financials:

IPVM Image

Declining Net Assets

ASIS International's net assets have fallen about half in the last 2.5 years from $23.4 million at the end of 2017 to $12.4 million on June 31, 2020, per its 990 filings. Net assets continued to decline in 2021, with ASIS International and its affiliates most recently reporting $11.2 million.

Join IPVM Newsletter?

IPVM is the #1 authority in video surveillance news, in-depth tests, and training courses. Get emails, once a day, Monday to Friday.

Conference Prime Money Maker

The GSX (formerly named ASIS) annual US conference is the organization's prime generator of both revenue and profits (ASIS is a non-profit so while it is technically not "profit", the excess funds earned at the conference fund the rest of the organization). Vendors buying GSX booths and sponsorships from ASIS is the core revenue generator for the Conference.

For example, 2019 ASIS Conferences had a surplus of $3+ million with revenue of $13.75 million compared to expenses of $10.64 million. This was despite the show struggling for years.

Indeed, 2018 ASIS Conferences had a surplus of $4+ million, with revenue of $15.34 million compared to expenses of $11.32 million, calculated from disclosures in its 2019 Association report.

Without a physical show in 2020, Conferences revenue dropped from $13.75 million to less than $2 million.

Executive Expenses

Contributing to ASIS expenses are 13 executives that have an average compensation of $280,000 and make a combined $3.6 million. Its 2020 990 filing excerpt below shows the top few:

IPVM Image

Response From ASIS

ASIS provided us this response to our questions on their financials, copied below in full:

For 67-years the ASIS International Board of Directors has partnered with its staff and volunteers to create and maintain a sustainable organization. The ASIS Board and staff leadership have operated in a transparent and inclusive manner and will continue to do so. Our organization has been led for the past six years by an award-winning CEO, who has recruited and retained a best-in-class staff who have partnered with volunteers around the world to advance ASIS International’s mission.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an international impact on business and ASIS is no different. It’s been a time when resiliency and dedication to mission have been crucial for survival. To the credit of the ASIS International Global Board of Directors, our global volunteers, and staff, we continue to meet and exceed the needs of our members and stakeholders.

We also continue to honor our commitment to transparency and communication with members and stakeholders by communicating about financials and other important matters. This includes quarterly Town Hall meetings with global volunteer leaders, frequent reports to the Global of Directors and Budget/Finance/Audit Committee, and to the general members through our Annual Report and Annual Business Meeting.

ASIS remains firmly focused on advancing the security profession and continuing to provide value to our 34,000 members worldwide.

Outlook

While COVID is clearly beyond the control of ASIS, COVID has exacerbated the long-term structural problems of ASIS given its dependency on making money from its GSX Conference as GSX has struggled to compete with ISC West.

2 reports cite this report:

Hikvision USA Exhibiting At GSX 2022, ASIS Silent on May 25, 2022
Although NDAA banned, sanctioned, and declared a national security threat,...
UK's The Security Event 2022 Show Report on Apr 06, 2022
IPVM is wrapping up its coverage of The Security Event in Birmingham, UK...

Comments (17)

Only IPVM Subscribers may comment. Login or Join.

That compensation is ridiculous considering ASIS has been losing money for decades. switching to positive balance is as simple as firing all the execs.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny: 3

On a different note, I am impressed they continued to provide $500,000 in scholarships, awards, and research last year despite the tough financials.

Kudos to ASIS for continuing that to support individuals trying to further education

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative: 4
Unhelpful
Funny

Scholarships to Universities, or discounted access to ASIS programs?

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Contributing to ASIS expenses are 13 executives that have an average compensation of $280,000 and make combined $3.6 million.

What do executives at similar organizations make? Do they have more executives than usual, or is this in line with other, similar organizations? I have no frame of reference for this $3.6 million expense.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Great IPVM reporting. And, while I usually post undisclosed, not this time.

I am a long-time ASIS member and the ASIS response to IPVM is dripping with elitism and chest-puffing (c'mon, award-winning CEO, best-in-class staff?....really sad to see that garbage response.)

Is that really the best way to provide a response about financials/revenue drops? The answer is "No." Be transparent, don't try to BS people.

ASIS was floundering before the new CEO and certainly is no better since. At least not for the members, nor for the industry.

GSX--I provided feedback to the new hire they had running the last one I attended (her first one)--right in the portable offices off the show floor. About how they lost their way. She dismissed my feedback right on the spot. Tough to take from someone clearly clueless about the security industry I've spent the last 40 years in.

The fix, to me, is clear. Get back to the roots. Inspire young professionals--even at the college level. Get off your high horse (especially the execs at ASIS who--in most cases--have no security expertise) and listen to your members. Your members--not your speakers, not your "I want to rub shoulders and be in a leadership, council, chair position..." core group. Those are the "duds" of ASIS. Get in touch with the real people who make the security industry function.

Agree: 7
Disagree
Informative: 4
Unhelpful
Funny

It saddens me as a member but I feel this is par for the course when it comes to originations and how they do PR when things are looking grim. In response to an earlier post, I am a college student and didn't hear anything of ASIS until I got into the role that I did now. They should get back to basics before trying to spin a negative situation that they clearly find themselves in.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

$3.6 million to people who have allowed revenue to be cut in half in under 3 years. I get the pandemic, but if these are award-winning best-in-class people, they should have figured out how to diversify their revenue streams and should have done a much better job competing against ISC West way before the pandemic.

What is their membership growth like? They've been around for 67 years and only have 34,000 members globally? That is a major failure in itself by anyone's measure. This board is incompetent considering how much growth and investment the world has put into security infrastructure over the past 67 years.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

They've been around for 67 years and only have 34,000 members globally?

The most members ASIS has ever claimed is 38,000 but that was many years ago, though google still returns many results for 38,000 ASIS members. Officially, for a number of years, ASIS has cited 34,000 members with no change (e.g., their 2019 report). At some point after ASIS raised rates 30% in 2013, the reported number went down to 30,000 but somewhere thereafter it was raised to 34,000.

Since ASIS uses deceptive reporting of GSX attendees / registrants, I don't particularly trust their reporting.

From looking at their State of the Association reports, membership revenue has been trending down over the last 3 years:

  • FY2021 - $5.72 million ($13 million revenue x 44% revenue from membership)
  • FY2020 - $5.75 million ($25 million revenue x .22% revenue from membership)
  • FY2019 - $6.576 million ($27.4 million revenue x 24% revenue from membership)

Note: ASIS did raise membership rates 20% for 2022. Those numbers are obviously not accounted for in existing financials.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

13 executives whose salaries representing a signicant percentage of the annual revenue, and providing what service. The original values and purpose of the founders is still relevant.

It seems there is an opportunity and void to be Filled. Clearly revenue and interest exist to support one. Within 12 months those membership dues and revenue could be redirected to a new organization. One run by only industry professionals whose purpose would be leading and encouraging technology development.

An organization that could look toward the future. Providing a collection of ideas from industry professionals to provide manufacturer and system providers useful input.

That input helping make products and services more effective, reliable, and interactive.

It could lead and provide an industry think tank imagining products that address current issues, and those likely to materialize in the future.

Bell labs did this for AT&T, and NASA has encouraged development of new technologies for many years.

This industry has become an essential and vital support system for business, industy, educational institutions and government. It needs input, ideas, and direction not based on profits, but based on delivering essential and vital solutions for critical and ever expanding Safety and Security problems.

Who will take the lead?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Looking at the 2019 and 2020 annual reports, it appears they are losing money on the GSX show and publishing. They most likely could right the ship by converting the Security Management Magazine to a online publication, stop sending me junk mail and better control expenses of the GSX show.

Something to add, ASIS just raised membership dues 20% for 2022. An additional $39 per member multiplied by the stated 34,000 members is a nice $1.3M revenue increase. I wonder if we will see a staff pay raise in the 2022 report.

ASIS dues increase statement link is blow.

2022-asis-dues-increase-faqs.pdf

Agree: 1
Disagree: 1
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Looking at the 2019 and 2020 annual reports, it appears they are losing money on the GSX show and publishing

Conferences / GSX make money, only 2020 was a loss because of COVID. Copying from the report:

For example, 2019 ASIS Conferences had a surplus of $3+ million with revenue of $13.75 million compared to expenses of $10.64 million. This was despite the show struggling for years.

Indeed, 2018 ASIS Conferences had a surplus of $4+ million, with revenue of $15.34 million compared to expenses of $11.32 million, calculated from disclosures in its 2019 Association report.

A core problem is that Conferences are trending down in how much money they make for ASIS, even pre-COVID.

By comparison, back in 2010, the "Seminar" / Conference generated over $6 million in surplus / profits ($14.1 million revenue - $7.6 million expenses), per the 2010's President report, excerpted below:

IPVM Image

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I’d like to earn $700k for running an organization into the ground. Imagine what they will get paid if they actually somehow turn this ship around.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 1

Online booths with 24 hour access, videos, webinars, and ability to get feedback from sales and tech teams any day.

Virtual shows running 24/7 allow working people to attend when it is convenient.

Opportunities to see the product and kick the tires via trial demos eliminates the need to be there in person.

Recorded conference and training available 24/7 work well. Can pause to handle a phone call, or rewind for better review. Can watch it (attend) a second time and invite a client or your techs to watch.

Imagine if key information could be downloaded to knowledge bases.

COVID just proved it could be done. As software improves going in person to a conference may never be necessary.

IPVM could create a Virtual Conference with reviews and training.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I have been a member of ASIS for over 25 years, a volunteer leader for more than 20 of those years including serving as a Chapter Chairman, Council Chairman and several positions in-between. It truly saddens me to see what is happening to the organization that I have been a part of for most of my career. The reason for decline is very clear to those of us that have been members for more than ten years.

The current (paid staff) leadership has lost touch with the original mission of the organization. Originally ASIS (The American Society of Industrial Security) was founded on three principals. Promote professionalism within the Security Industry, Provide education for the Security Industry and provide a community where members can network and participate in the first two goals. Vendors were allowed to participate but took a back seat to practitioners. Selling of any kind was forbidden during education sessions. It was a practitioner centric organization. It provided value to the Security Professional. ASIS catered to Security Directors and SIA/ISC catered to Security Contractors.

During the past ten years or so ASIS has become increasingly focused on growth and increasing revenue streams. This has diminished the original mission statement and has soured many longtime members. As older members retire or just became inactive, new younger members were not joining.

A few years ago, the current CEO doubled down on this destructive path by allowing vendors to take a more predominant role in the Association. Sponsorship of everything, selling the headquarters building and converting the "Councils" into "Communities" where anyone can join. Again diminishing the value to the Security Practitioner. As the practitioners left the association, more vendors joined giving the appearance of sustainable membership numbers.

Please don't think I am anti-vendor, I am not. I also sell a service to my clients but if they keep pushing the Security Directors out of the association, who are we going to do business with?

The desire for revenue over substance has also cheapened the certifications offered by ASIS. In the past it was very difficult to even get approved to take the CPP test let along passing it. Background qualifications were verified and references were interviewed. The certification meant something. Today if you pay the money, you can take the test regardless if you meet the stated qualifications or not. I personally know several people that have recently received all three certifications without the required experience so they cannot claim they are checking. I even know several PCI's that have not participated in a single investigation.

I honestly don't blame the current leadership for these missteps. They are not Security Professionals. They don't understand what Security Professionals do during the course of their work. They are social media professionals generating revenue for their sizable salaries. It is clear in the response from ASIS HQ in the article above that they are focused on themselves not the membership.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

Good insights!

Sponsorship of everything...

Please don't think I am anti-vendor

It is inevitable when an organization's core revenue generator is selling promotion to vendors that the vendors will become the priority of the organization.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

ASIS received a $2 million PPP loan and reported 80 jobs:

IPVM Image

This PPP tracker site estimates ASIS had reduced its number of employees since 2019:

The size of company's PPP loan indicates that the number of employees on payroll during the eligibility calculation period (typically 2019) was higher than the 80 jobs reported as retained on the PPP application3. This could be caused by a reduction in employment since 2019, due to Coronavirus or other factors.

The minimum number of employees this company must have had in 2019 to qualify for the loan range received is 98. This estimation is accurate if all employees were paid at or over the $100k PPP salary eligibility cap.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Excellent article and comments. As a paid ASIS member for over 15 years it is hard to see a return on the investment. I have also earned the coveted ASIS CPP however I must admit the test is extremely dated and is in a need for an overall. I know they now are currently working on that revision however they have waited to long.

ASIS in contrast to the NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) has little to no ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Standards. They boast they have 12 ANSI Standards however the NFPA has over 300 ANSI Standards. Given their "best in class staff" you would think they would continue to develop ANSI Standards to better the security industry and thus continue their legacy of being the "go to" for security topics.

Unfortunately, I know from personal experience owning a company who is an accredited ANSI Standard Developer when we put forth a security related Standard PINS (Project Initiation Notification) per ANSI Essential Requirements instead of ASIS coming to us to work together as required, again by ANSI Essential Requirements, they appealed our accreditation and pushed for our decertification. Thier stance was that since they have the size and history in security we should have gone to them first prior to submitting our ANSI application for accreditation and before submitting our PINS.

It sadly does appear that ASIS leadership takes the stance that they are the only Security Organization that should be listened to. They forget the knowledge comes from the volunteers and experience their members bring to the table.

In my professional opinion, ASIS will continue to hemorrhage members and fail to gain new members. If they do not change their business model and get back to the roots of those that are on the ground, another organization will. It's the circle of life.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
Loading Related Reports