Significant Financial Interest (SFI)

Definition of an SFI

An SFI is defined as “a financial interest consisting of one or more of the following interests of the Investigator (and those of the Investigator’s spouse and dependent children) that reasonably appears to be related to the Investigator’s institutional responsibilities.”

  • With regard to any publicly traded entity, an SFI exists if the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure and the value of any equity interest in the entity as of the date of disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000.
    • For the purposes of this definition, “remuneration” includes:
      • Salary
      • Any payment for services not otherwise identified as salary, such as:
        • consulting fees
        • honoraria
        • paid authorship
      • Equity interest, which includes:
        • stocks
        • stock options
        • other ownership interests as determined through reference to public prices or other reasonable measures of fair market value
  • With regard to any nonpublicly traded entity, an SFI exists if the value of any remuneration received from the entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000 — or when the investigator (or the investigator’s spouse or dependent children) holds any equity interest (e.g., stock, stock option or other ownership interest) in the entity.
  • Intellectual property rights and interests (e.g., patents, copyrights) present an SFI upon receipt of income related to such rights and interests.

NOTE: If the entity sponsors projects that involve the use of human subjects and require approval from the NC State Institutional Review Board (IRB), the above minimum remuneration and equity thresholds do not apply. In such cases, the disclosure threshold is any amount of payment and any equity.

If subject to Public Health Service (PHS) regulations, investigators must also disclose the occurrence of any reimbursed or sponsored travel related to their institutional responsibilities.

  • If the aggregate value of any sponsored or reimbursed travel by any single entity meets or exceeds $5,000 in the prior 12 months, then the following must be reported on your COI disclosure:
    • Purpose of the trip
    • Identity of the sponsor
    • Destination and duration of the trip
    • Total monetary value of the trip

NOTE: The above requirement does not apply to travel that is reimbursed or sponsored by a federal, state, or local government agency; an institution of higher education; an academic teaching hospital; a medical center; or a research institution that is affiliated with an institution of higher education.

What is not included in the definition of an SFI?

The definition of an SFI does not include the following types of financial interests:

  • Salary, royalties or other remuneration paid to an investigator from an institution by which the investigator is currently employed or otherwise appointed. This includes:
    • Intellectual property rights assigned to the institution and agreements to share in royalties related to such rights
    • Any ownership interest in the institution held by the investigator if the institution is a commercial or for-profit organization
    • Income from investment vehicles such as mutual funds and retirement accounts, as long as the investigator does not directly control the investment decisions made in these vehicles
    • Income from seminars, lectures or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state or local government agency; an institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a); an academic teaching hospital; a medical center; or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education
    • Income from service on advisory committees or review panels for a federal, state or local government agency; an institution of higher education as defined at 20 U.S.C. 1001(a); an academic teaching hospital; a medical center; or a research institute that is affiliated with an institution of higher education

If you have any questions regarding SFIs, please email Saloni Vahia at ssvahia@ncsu.edu or call 919.513.8141.