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The following guidelines were created by the Four A's New Business Committee to address the standards and practices of ad industry search consultants.

1. Release of material requested

All data, information and materials requested from the agency should be relevant to the specific search undertaken by the consultant on behalf of the advertiser. However, financial information on the management and operation of the agency that is not relevant should remain proprietary to the agency.

2. Confidentiality of material and data submitted

The consultant and client should be asked to sign off on the confidentiality of information provided by the agencies. No proprietary information should be released to any other party, or used for any purpose, other than the project in whose name it was collected, without the agency's permission.

3. Conflicts of interest

Consultants who participate in new business searches, compensation reviews or other assignments for advertisers should also not solicit business from agencies or take on assignments requested by participating agencies. At a minimum, consultants should disclose to their clients in advance any fees or commissions they have received or will receive from any of the agencies involved, for any types of services.

4. Searches for "undisclosed clients"

Agencies should be as responsive as appropriate in submitting information requested by consultants for "undisclosed clients." However, no proprietary or sensitive information should be submitted until the prospect can be identified. Typically, the information and materials requested in these searches, at the undisclosed stage, is confined to capabilities, work, agency history,

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