Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Christian Investment Forum (CIF)?

The Christian Investment Forum (CIF) is a Kingdom-focused investment association committed to educating advisors and investors by providing opportunities to bring about change – in the hearts, homes, cities, and world that we serve.

CIF strives to be an organization that enables others to advance and promote BRI (Biblically responsible investing), and cause greater Kingdom impact.

CIF is a 501c6 non-profit trade association of Christian investment professionals and companies, led by a Board of its Members and run by an Executive Director.  We strive to educate ourselves and the wider public on the benefits of BRI through research that leads to credibility, training that leads to knowledge, and networking that leads to influence.

The CIF Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Christian Investment Forum.  CIF Foundation will provide training and events to support CIF, and can accept charitable donations from those interested in supporting our activities.

What is the goal of CIF?

Advance BRI | Investing for Kingdom Impact

Our goal is to increase the awareness and use of Biblically responsible investing, by becoming the resource for advisors, investors, church leaders and Christian thought leaders for BRI.

How does CIF intend to meet that goal?

CIF is a Kingdom-focused investment association committed to educating advisors and investors through research and tools, through education, through communicating the Why and What of CIF, and by creating a safe environment for convicted civil discourse.  In this way, we strive to be an organization that enables others to advance and promote Kingdom Impact Investing that transforms our world.

Is there really a market for BRI funds?

Using a variety of approaches to estimate the market size and potential for targeting Christian investors with investment products and services that align with their identifying values, CIF estimates the market to be around $8.0 trillion.  That market does not include retirement accounts such as 401k and 403b.  This is based on the population of practicing Christians in the U.S., data on household incomes and investable assets, and surveys about their interest in integrating their faith into finance decisions.  Limiting the potential market size to an early adopter segment would still suggest a market of between $1.4 and $2.3 trillion.  That total is a small percentage of the estimated $11.9 Trillion in total mutual fund assets held by Christians, but is estimated as those Christians who are more passionate about alignment and thus are the most likely to lead a shift towards BRI.  This estimate is very close to a similar study done by McKinsey for a large financial institution.  That study estimated the addressable market at $2.3 Trillion.   In both cases, there is a compelling case for increasing products, services, and communications that relate to this audience.

Are you an Evangelical organization?

We are not affiliated with any one religious denomination but rather strive to open dialogue among Christians of different denominations who are interested in the intersection of faith and investing.

What is Biblically Responsible Investing?

We view the concept of Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) as investing that seeks to please and glorify God as a vital act of worship.  In an effort to worship God through the investment selection, BRI is an investment decision making process that applies Christian values to issues facing shareholders and stakeholders regarding moral, environmental, social, corporate governance, and applicable Biblical principles.  This coupled with traditional financial analysis provides a platform for investment decisions that allows us to view our role as stewards of God’s gifts to us and also respect the foundational beliefs of our shared Christian faith. There are a variety of terms used by investors and funds that describe this same concept.  Among them are: Faith Based Investing, Values Investing, Christian Values Investing, Morally Responsible Investing, Stewardship Investing, and many others.

Is there a uniform standard to define what is BRI and how it is implemented?

No.  A single standard for Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) is often requested by investors so that they can identify their investment choices more easily.  Biblically Responsible Investing stands at the nexus of theological convictions as well as investment research.  Just like there are a variety of theological convictions that are considered biblical since they find their mooring in the Bible, there is no single accepted definition of what screening criteria qualifies or does not qualify as Biblically Responsible Investing.  There is no uniform standard.

Ultimately, you and your religious denomination or affiliation should guide your values and priorities as you seek to incorporate Faith Based Investing into your investment decisions.

Why should I engage in Faith Based Investing?

CIF believes that Faith Based Investing, or BRI, is a credible and more integrated approach to investing, one that more closely aligns wealth accumulation with our ideals as Christians.  BRI funds are now widely available across asset classes (65 Funds from CIF Member Firms, with over 100 funds from BRI firms and Christian institutions).  The performance of BRI funds is comparable to their benchmarks, with each individual fund having its own performance history.  You and your advisor should consider carefully the funds you choose.

CIF has a paper that delves into this question more deeply, found HERE

I’ve heard there are too few investment options available for BRI and the performance of screened portfolios lags the market. Is this true?

These are the most common misconceptions about BRI.  Both are incorrect – there are many investment options today and it is growing, and performance is comparable to the rest of the financial industry. Current CIF Members offer 71 different funds across all major asset classes (29 different Morningstar categories for equities, bonds, and allocations), and more broadly there are over 100 different BRI funds available.  Additionally, there are firms that specialize in providing services to those advisors interested in BRI to help screen, help build portfolios, and provide broker dealer services. Within the CIF Member firm funds, over 30% of them have Morningstar ratings of 4 Star or 5 Star, and have some of the industry’s top awards and performance records.

What Funds are available that use BRI?

We have a chart of the different funds offered from CIF Member firms, which totals over 65 different investment choices across many asset classes, as well as other services available.  You can find it here: CIF Member Funds

What about performance of BRI Funds relative to the industry?

As the number of fund options increase, and the interest in aligning investing with values grows, there has been an increasing level of research into the issue of performance.  The research is consistently verifying that incorporating values criteria into investment decisions does not reduce performance, and more often can lead to some out-performance.  Here are 3 sources to check out:

CIF Study on Performance

BRI Institute’s White Paper on Backtesting

USSIF Research Citations

You can find it here: CIF Member Funds

Is BRI compatible with fiduciary responsiblity?

The short answer is YES – BRI is compatible with fiduciary responsibility.   USSIF has provided a useful short answer on the question of fiduciary responsibility and the use of values in the investment decision making.   Here’s the USSIF Reponse to Fiduciary