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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The "Circle of Trust" Deepens the Collaboration Between the Major Appraisal Organizations with the Development of Formal Mission and Vision Statements

By Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP
COT organization leaders, including
Christine Guernsey, ISA CAPP, President,
Cindy Charleston-Rosenberg, ISA CAPP,
Immediate Past President, and
Todd Sigety, ISA CAPP

One of the goals of ISA's three-year Strategic Plan is to advance ISA's industry standing among users of appraisal services. As part of this directive, ISA is committed to working with peer appraisal organizations to raise public awareness and demand for meaningful personal property appraising credentials.

To help guide this initiative and frame the overall scope, ISA, AAA and ASA have furthered our collaboration with the development of mission and vision statements, announced Monday in a joint public press release.   

The mission of the Circle of Trust (COT) is: "To raise public awareness of qualification standards for credentialed personal property appraisers who are members of The Appraisal Foundation sponsoring organizations." The concept of limiting participation in this collaboration to TAF sponsoring organizations is, that for sponsors, adherence to the AQB qualifying criteria will now be mandatory. This protects the public from individuals who may be practicing to a lower standard and without organizational accountability.

The next meeting of the COT organizational representatives will be in April at the ISA Annual Conference in Dallas/Fort Worth. At this meeting, the COT intends to move the mission forward with activities geared toward educating allied industry users. The participating organizations believe that as a result of our unified efforts to raise public awareness, informed consumers and allied professionals will recognize, and increasingly demand, meaningful personal property appraising qualifications.

I am proud to be ISA's member representative in this effort, and invite your ideas and comments. Please contact me at: or 215 346-2799.


  1. December 4, 2015


    Congratulations to the team that initiated the “Circle of Trust” concept. It opened a door to help educate the public about the appraisal industry, and about the three leading major organizations that represent the pinnacle of professionalism in the industry: ISA, ASA and AAA. It is a beginning and a giant step forward.

    Hopefully, as the concept matures with unilateral agreement involving the three leaders in the industry, it will be more than an educational tool, but also a forum for the public’s communication about the industry. Most major professional organizations have such informational avenues for the public; however, the legal, medical and real estate appraisers have a standard that must be met by their members and an avenue for the public to bring concerns and problems so that a resolution might result. The standards are the educational branch; and the branch that allows communication of the public to the organization completes the “Circle of Trust”.

    We have compared our profession to the medical and legal world and we parallel our sister branch, the real estate appraisers whose standards are governed by individual states; however, we do not have a well-known publicized “governor” that regulates improprieties and irregularities in the personal property branch of the industry. If we do not form such a branch, eventually the “Circle of Trust” will have little to no meaning. It is imperative that this formative step begin.

    It is vital that as the concept is in its planning stage and like other professional organizations that have the Bar Complaint or the Medical Malpractice, a “Board of Concern” should be implemented with each certifying organization having to regulate, correct, communicate and if necessary, remediate a problem. The public must have such an avenue; or we are not a fully developed professional group that not only serves the public, but protects the public.

    Each organization might say, “We have an ethics branch that is the governor of our organization.” Is the ethics “committee” well-known? Does it have an avenue for attorneys, courts and the public to bring concerns about poorly written appraisals? Appraisals not following USPAP? Poorly researched value conclusions? Impropriates? …the list is endless. Each organization must be responsible for its development that will reflect the defined standards and concerns of the Circle of Trust.

    I wish you the best as the leaders in the three organizations forge the path of professionalism within our industry in completing the “Circle of Trust” for both the industry and the public.


    Tom Helms

  2. Thank you Tom. You raise a good point.

    Yes, each of the three organizations has an accessible Ethics Committee which fully investigates complaints regarding professional conduct, and covers all of the concerns you raise. Having served on ISA's committee, these complaints are taken very seriously, and appropriate measures are taken to protect users of appraisal services. For egregious conduct, revocation of credentials, and public censure are possible outcomes when appropriate. ISA also publishes a list of individuals who are found to be misrepresenting ISA credentials, and have not been responsive to requests to desist.

    Each organization is now also bound by TAF sponsorship to adhere to the robust AQB professional qualification criteria, which affords the public protection from those operating without proper training, qualifications or continuing education.

  3. Thanks Darlene. Looking forward to seeing you in Dallas/Ft. Worth.