ASIS Financials Investigated

Author: John Honovich, Published on Oct 07, 2012

Nonprofit ASIS International has richly compensated executives, driven primarily by promotional payments from vendors, and supported by numerous security experts who volunteer at paid ASIS events. In this report, we examine these issues and raise critical questions for further discussion.

Background

This report is based on ASIS's 2010 IRS Financial filing, required by US law for nonprofit organizations. It includes additional details beyond the ASIS 2010 President's Report.

Weeks before publishing this report, we shared our concerns with ASIS. They responded with a thorough response in writing. While we excerpt sections below, we recommend you read the full 2 page ASIS Response to IPVM.

Executive Compensation

The average total 2010 compensation for ASIS executives was ~$330,000 with the CEO of ASIS making $647,694 USD. The table below is excerpted directly from the IRS filing:

ASIS executive compensation

[Update: 2011 compensation increased from ~$330,000 to $~400,000.]

ASIS noted that compensation is "reviewed annually by external independent consultants to ensure parity with similar organizations." Additionally, ASIS said that comparisons can be skewed because "ASIS is self-insured for its employees’ health insurance, and is therefore required to report all of the claims paid annually as compensation" which is atypical.

Comparing ASIS's executive compensation with two other security non-profits, even after factoring out health insurance costs, ASIS executive compensation was far higher.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

ASIS rejected those comparisons, offering two other organizations they felt were more appropriate - The Center for Association Leadership where the Executive Director had over $1 Million compensation and the Global Association of Risk Professionals whose top compensated executive made over $800,000.

In the same year, 2010, ASIS laid off a reported 8% of their workforce, citing 'economic factors'.

Volunteer Practices

ASIS depends heavily on numerous volunteers for ASIS education events and seminars. Typically, not only are the security experts not paid for their time, they need to pay their own way to fly to these events and for hotels while there. Between lost wages and travel expenses, volunteer costs can easily be in the thousands. Despite this, ASIS frequently charges around a thousand dollars per attendee.

However ASIS dismissed concerns, noting that volunteers "do so enthusiastically and with full understanding of the financial arrangements." While volunteers are strictly prohibited from explicitly mentioning their products or services during their presentations, using these events to network for future business is not only common but necessary for many experts to recoup the substantial costs of volunteering.

Dependence on Promotional Payments

The majority of ASIS's revenue comes from promotional activities, specifically $10+ million from exhibit fees and sponsorships and ~$5 million from advertising in ASIS's publications and websites. Membership fees only account for a fraction of total ASIS revenue - less than 20%.

The chart below provides a rough split between promotional and non promotional payments:

asis rev sources

The 3 most important promotional payments are exhibits, advertising in publications and sponsorships.

Equally important, extremely high profits from promotions drives the entire organization. ASIS confirmed that 2010 seminar revenue was ~$14 million, while total costs were just ~$7.6 million, delivering a profit of $6.4 million and an incredible margin of 45%. By contrast, as a whole in 2010, ASIS barely broke even.

ASIS acknowledged this dependence in their response, emphasizing how it helps to do good for the community:

"The Seminar financial margin [editor's note: profits] is used to subsidize other administrative overhead not associated with the Seminar, and many other activities of ASIS worldwide. Seminar revenues also subsidize the development/maintenance of educational programs, standards and guidelines, and certification program evolution and maintenance. Most of these programs do not net positive financial margins, yet they are of critical value to ASIS and the security profession as a whole."

Poor Performance in Areas with Promotional Payments

While ASIS clearly does many great things for the security industry, their weakest aspect is security technology, where they make most of their profits for helping vendors market their offerings. Outside of exhibits, ads and awards that promote vendors, ASIS is generally silent and uninformative about security technology.

Their education is frequently deferred to vendors. For instance, in the 2012 seminar program, about half the surveillance presentations had an Axis employee on the panel, including this Axis' ASIS 'edumarketing' presentation which simply removed the Axis logo but kept the spin. Their regular webinar series routinely has vendor's pitching while giving attendees education credits (see this for PSIM). ASIS could really help security manager's improve their technology decisions, an increasingly critical component of security management but they do very little, especially compared to what they could do with such sizeable revenues ($26 Million total in 2010).

Critical Questions

For the comments section, here are 3 questions that I think are worth discussing:

  • Is it fair that ASIS executives make so much while security experts work for free at ASIS seminars and events?
  • Is it advantageous or harmful that ASIS is so heavily dependent on promotional payments?
  • Can and should ASIS be doing more to support the security profession, especially for security technology?

1 report cite this report:

Weak ASIS 2015 Show Upsets Manufacturers on Oct 02, 2015
Though ASIS is supposed to be dedicated to security professionals, their main customer base and revenue source ($10+ million) is...

Related Reports

Vulnerability Directory For Access Control Cards on Aug 14, 2017
Knowing which access credentials are insecure can be unclear, especially because most look and feel the same. Even the most insecure 125 kHz types...
FLIR Security Business Struggling on Aug 02, 2017
FLIR's security division is an ambitious mix of FLIR's core thermal business plus multiple acquisitions, including of retail / consumer offering...
Anixter - Falling Video Prices on Jul 26, 2017
Falling video prices are such a concern that it has become a notable topic for Anixter's financial results and Anixter's executives. In this...
Healthy Skepticism for Deep Learning Is Prudent on Jul 26, 2017
The hype for deep learning in video surveillance is accelerating. Between the race to the bottom and dearth of a 'next big thing', certainly pent...
Dahua Suffers Second Major Vulnerability, Silent [Finally Acknowledges] on Jul 25, 2017
Less than 3 months ago, Dahua received DHS ICS-CERT's worst score of 10.0 for their backdoor. Now, Dahua has received another 10.0 score for a new...
'Suicidal' Knightscope Robot Drowns on Jul 17, 2017
Knightscope continues its hyper growth, at least when it comes to controversy, this time with a 'suicidal' robot in Washington DC. And here is...
ONVIF Chairman Criticizes Low Cost Cameras (Also, He Works At Axis) on Jul 12, 2017
ONVIF Chairman Per Björkdahl has taken a strong public stance against low cost cameras that are 'much more vulnerable to attack' as he explains in...
Hikvision Stock Surges - Doubling In Past Year on Jun 29, 2017
Hikvision's stock, on the China Shenzhen stock exchange, has more than doubled in the past year, vaulting the company's worth to an astounding (for...
Hikvision: IPVM Is "Destined To Fail" on Jun 14, 2017
Hikvision has accused IPVM of 'cyberbullying' them, declaring IPVM 'destined to fail.' This is the 3rd anti-IPVM Hikvision post in 2 weeks,...
ASIS 2017 Cuts Day 3 Exhibits to 3 Hours on Jun 14, 2017
The 3rd day of major trade shows are always the worst attended. And with shows with poor traffic, like ASIS over the past few years, day 3 has...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Avigilon CEO Attacks Asian Companies Cyber Insecurity on Aug 18, 2017
Avigilon CEO is taking aim at their Asian competitors. And he is going directly after these company's cyber security issues. In this note, we...
Sony Next Gen HD Dome Camera Tested (SNC-EM642R) on Aug 18, 2017
Sony has released their latest generation, claiming improved WDR and low light, increased IR range, and more. We tested the SNC-EM642R outdoor IR...
IP Networking Course September 2017 on Aug 17, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
Knightscope Raises $10 Million With $3,320 Average Per Investor on Aug 17, 2017
Congrats to Knightscope. And condolences to their legion of little investors. Knightscope has disclosed they have raised $10+ million from their...
Axis and Arecont Legal Conflict Over Multi-Imager Cameras on Aug 17, 2017
Arecont threatened Axis. Axis has responded by moving to invalidate an Arecont patent. It is an important contest. Multi-imagers are Arecont's...
Directory Of Consumer Security Cameras on Aug 16, 2017
The consumer camera segment continues to grow, with new startups and models from existing players released seemingly every month. In this report we...
Cat 5e vs Cat 6 vs Cat 6a Network Cable Usage Statistics on Aug 16, 2017
Cat 5e? Cat 6? Cat 6a? What do integrators use in practice, today? 140+ integrators told IPVM. Here are the results: For those who want to...
Hikvision Responds To Cracked Security Codes on Aug 15, 2017
Hikvision has responded to IPVM's report on Hikvision's security code being cracked, both with a 2 page update to dealers and communication...
Stolen Video NVR / DVR Statistics on Aug 15, 2017
"But what happens if someone steals my recorder?" Anyone who has done more than a handful of jobs has probably heard this question several times....
Hikvision Europe Cutting Out Unauthorized End User Sales on Aug 15, 2017
The days of anyone buying Hikvision from anywhere off the Internet are numbered, at least in Europe, if Hikvision's plan comes to fruition. In...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact