Ron Blue, founder of Atlanta-based Kingdom Advisors, has launched the “Certified Kingdom Advisor” designation to help identify financial planners offering biblically sound advice.
“Interestingly enough, the Bible has more to say about money than any other topic,” Blue says. “Primarily because money itself is the root of a belief system and it impacts life in so many different ways—and it always will.”
According to a recent white paper from Kingdom Advisors, the evangelical Christian market in the U.S. has between 24 million and 82 million people who collectively hold between $1.5 trillion and $6.7 trillion in liquid assets.
“When you lay a biblical worldview atop financial decision-making, there are planning differentiators that emerge,” says Rob West, president of Kingdom Advisors. “Those differentiators exist more at the ‘why’ level than the ‘how’ level—they don’t really impact product recommendations or investment strategies.”
Blue says holders of the new designation will exemplify five Christian principles of sound money management such as spending less than one earns; avoiding the use of debt; building liquidity; setting long-term goals; and believing that God owns it all, not the investor.
To qualify for the designation, advisors will have to be able to demonstrate that they’re technically competent by either providing evidence of an approved professional designation or by having at least 10 years of full-time experience in their discipline. Approved certifications include the CFP, CPA and CFA designations.
Certified Kingdom Advisors would also have to follow the Kingdom Advisors Code of Ethics, which closely mirrors the CFP Board’s code of ethics, and maintain active local church involvement.
“Designations like the CFP and the CFA already have a lot of rigor associated with them and we believe they are legitimate professional designations,” West says. “The code of ethics that are already in place are good, but we’re building off of that and into other areas. We’re for the most part aligned in areas like objectivity, suitability, confidentiality and professionalism.”
The Kingdom Advisors Code of Ethics goes further by including what Blue and West identify as “hallmarks” of Christian life: generosity, humility and accountability.
To receive the designation, applicants also have to provide letters of reference from clients and church leaders. And holders of the new designation need to pledge to practice biblical stewardship in their professional and personal lives and to give regularly in proportion to their income.