Lumiant, an Australian company founded in 2020 that develops financial planning software, made its official U.S. debut Tuesday. More than 150 advisors to over 4,000 households already use the software in Australia and the company hopes it will have as much traction in the U.S.
It would have launched stateside earlier but the Australian border was closed until April to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Lumiant co-founder Santiago Burridge told RIA Intel he was on the second plane out of Australia after the travel restrictions changed.
The market for financial planning software — a necessary tool for professional wealth managers — is growing but still dominated by a few developers. The most popular software, eMoney and MoneyGuidePro, have 33 percent and 30.3 percent, respectively. RightCapital, which is gaining popularity, has 19.7 percent of the market. The rest is shared by more than half a dozen other developers.
Burridge says those developers aren’t competitors — Lumiant was designed to augment the planning process, so there is plenty of opportunity in the U.S. Unlike other financial planning tools that track only a few goals, such as a nest egg for retirement, Lumiant tracks 15 objectives and every member of a household can log in and see the status of each goal at any time, he said.
“We’re asking about the things that they genuinely care about,” and those things are not explicitly financial goals, Burridge said.
Investors’ top-ranked goal on the Lumiant platform, across all demographics, is supporting and protecting the people they love. For retirees using the platform, the second most important thing (after family support and protection) is to be more active and healthier.
Understanding and tracking non-financial goals using Lumiant helps advisors give clients better advice, Burridge said.
Only investors with an advisor can use Lumiant’s platform, which has two levels of membership and is paid for by the wealth manager. A $3,000 annual membership includes tools that track a household’s goals, wellness (eight factors including physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, and financial), tasks, and investment preferences. Advisors can summarize a client meeting in a concise “lifebook” within minutes afterward. Advisors get 80 client logins with each membership. Wealth management firms can get more client logins for $10 per household or buy bundles. Fifty additional logins cost $375. The more logins an advisor buys, the better discount they get. Five hundred logins is $750.
[Like this article? Subscribe to RIA Intel’s’ thrice-weekly newsletter.]
A $6,000 premium membership unlocks a tool that analyzes multiple goals and shows how likely it is that a client will achieve their financial ones. It also allows clients to upload and store digital documents and includes a governance tool that shows clients how their family’s asset and legacy structures are set up.
One focus of Lumiant is making sure that the non-financial spouse, who the startup defines as the spouse typically focused more on life outcomes rather than financial outcomes, is part of the financial planning process and has access to the plan. Most advisors and financial planning software don’t adequately engage spouses, or engage them at all, Burridge said. As a result, 50 percent of an advisor’s clients might be ignored, he added.
Luminant creates accounts for each spouse and leverages the accounts to encourage certain behavior. It tracks how often users log in and the non-financial spouse — designated by their advisor — must take actions on the platform before their partner can. “Everything in the system is set up so the non-financial spouse always goes first,” Burridge said.
Only 5 percent of clients actively engage financial planning platforms on a regular basis, according to Burridge. That jumps to 33 percent when they use Lumiant, he said.
Lumiant does not integrate with any other software but the company is talking to Envestnet about integrating with MoneyGuidePro, Burridge said. Right now, advisors must manually update balances and input client information into Lumiant. But that effort might be worth the investment.
In February, Lumiant surveyed advisors using its software and found they received an additional five referrals during the previous year and that they could charge an additional $1,300 U.S. dollars per household for their advice. The wealth managers surveyed also said their client retention and compliance improved, and that automated features of Lumiant’s platform saved them at least two hours per client during the previous year, according to Burridge.
Holly Deaton (@HollyLDeaton) is a staff writer at RIA Intel and based in New York City.