For over 30 years Chris McMahon, CEO of Aquinas Wealth Advisors, has advised his clients in the areas of comprehensive financial planning, asset allocation, retirement planning and estate tax minimization techniques. 

Russ Alan Prince: Tell us a bit about Aquinas Wealth Advisors℠ and the desire for faith-based investing that led to you founding the firm.

Chris McMahon: Aquinas Wealth Advisors℠ was born out of our clients’ desire to align their financial life with their faith life. In this age of ever-accelerating information, it is easy for investors to feel overwhelmed. Specifically, we were hearing from our Catholic clients that there is tremendous noise that investors must sift through and very little information on how to assess the alignment of their investments with their deepest held beliefs. This has become a much bigger issue over the last ten years as money managers and corporate officers have become much more socially active. Their actions have left many faith-based investors feeling marginalized, frustrated, and powerless.    

The only possible solution faith-based investors had was a small number of mutual funds that would screen for possible violations of faith. Unfortunately, these funds have not been widely distributed and may only make up a small portion of an investor’s overall portfolio, leaving large possible violations in their accounts. Until now, there has been no way for clients to draw back the curtain on their investments and see a more complete inventory of what their dollars were supporting.

With that as a backdrop, Aquinas was founded in the hope of utilizing state-of-the-art technology to empower investors to dig deeper into their accounts and fully understand their ability to no longer support activities and causes that conflict with their morality.

Prince: How does the technology behind the Faith & Finance Score℠ go beyond other screening tools? How does it differ from ESG screeners?

McMahon: Aquinas puts the technology directly in the hands of the investor. Prior to this, clients needed to rely on their advisor and hope they might subscribe to some screening service that would give them a picture of their portfolio’s alignment with their values. Often advisors either counseled clients out of the idea of faith investing or suggested that it was too difficult based upon the ability of corporations to make donations through their foundations and other avenues. Lastly, some advisors may be employed by firms that are supporters of some of the activities which are in direct conflict with faith-based investors’ standards. The Faith & Finance Score℠ is a game changer. Now clients have the power in their own hands to do a more complete analysis of all their holdings.

Using the Faith & Finance Score℠ tool, investors can quickly and efficiently access a comprehensive report on both the performance and faith alignment of their dollars. The process allows clients to link their current investment accounts in a secure portal and receive their Faith & Finance Score℠ in a few minutes. The technology produces a robust report that includes detailed reporting on companies’ involvement and support of violating organizations. Potential faith conflicting activities are clearly identified. Investors to see violations in individual securities they own as well as the securities held within funds.    

As for how this differs from other screening technology, I’m not sure there are any ESG screeners out there that can assess a portfolio this holistically. Aquinas’ technology analyzes an investor’s holdings in a manner that few screening technologies can match and is well-poised to set a new standard in the field. 

Prince: What are you seeing on the horizon for faith-based and values investing, even beyond Catholic clients? Are the priorities in this space changing?

McMahon: It’s no secret that we’re seeing hot button issues and how companies are responding to them more frequently in the news. Several debates are raging about how corporations are allocating their funds with respect to various causes, and different people feel different ways on the matter. I think you’re going to see more and more pushes aligned with Aquinas’ mission statement of allowing investors to see corporations beyond their business case. 

People want to know what companies are doing with their social investments, and if possible, ensure their portfolio is aligned with their principles. Aquinas has seen constant changes in this space with ESG investments and values-based investing, and our hope is that we’ve established an infrastructure to stay at the forefront of this ever-changing landscape.

As we look to the future, we want to bring the technology behind the Faith & Finance Score℠ and tailor it to cater to investors of other Christian denominations that might be interested in this degree of transparency. We see opportunities to grow from there in other markets—whether it’s from Aquinas or elsewhere, I fully expect to see more transparency-centric offerings in the investment sphere.

Russ Alan Prince is the executive director of Private Wealth magazine and chief content officer for High-Net-Worth Genius. He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs, and select professionals.Disclosure:

Advisory services are offered by Moralis Technologies, LLC d/b/a Aquinas Wealth Advisors℠ (“Aquinas Wealth Advisors℠”), a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Aquinas Wealth Advisors℠ may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed or qualifies for a corresponding exemption from such requirements. For information about the Aquinas Wealth Advisors℠ registration status and business operations, please consult the firm’s Form ADV disclosure documents, the most recent versions of which are available on the SEC's Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website at

The information provided is for illustration purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should it be construed or used as, investment, tax or legal advice, any recommendation or opinion regarding the appropriateness or suitability of any investment or strategy, or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any interest in any security. 

All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. There can be no guarantee that the strategies promoted will be successful and no guarantee of positive results.