Building a Smarter Investment Advisory Financial Technology Platform with Luma Fintech
Senior Content Marketer & Technical Expert
Head of Marketing
Tech Leaders Corner
“The key to financial services is taking complex issues and explaining them in a simple way” - Tim Bonacci, President & CEO of Luma Financial Technologies
The investment advisory field is ripe for disruption.
Luma Financial Technologies built a platform to help address the complexities investment advisors and brokers face when making purchasing decisions for structured products & annuities as well as helping their clients decide what’s best for them.
ITMAGINATION helps Luma with developing their platform further and setting it up for further scalability.
Our understanding of the business use case is crucial for our technology partnership.
Furthermore, we will explore the underlying tech challenges that we are solving with Luma’s team on a day-to-day basis.
The Fintech industry is a revolution that keeps going to new heights. It always moves forward thanks to the incredible companies that want to transform the way people handle their money.
One core area where Fintech companies are thriving is in the investments and savings department, where people have their precious life savings that they earned during countless hours spent in their workplaces.
In this post, we will take you through a key challenge in the investment advisory market, how Luma Financial Technologies (a Fintech startup) is helping solve this challenge, and how we are working with them as a technology partner to help them accelerate the rate at which they’re bringing innovation to the market.
The Investment Advisory Cold Start Problem
When holding our money, inflation eats away at the money we all have in our accounts every month. That’s why people who aim to multiply their savings often trust financial professionals with investing their cash or providing them with a range of options that best fit their investment needs. It’s especially true today, when there is an ever-increasing number of financial instruments, and people could be more and more impatient with their advisors, as we slowly face tough financial times.
These financial professionals often face clunky processes, complex investment product packages, and time-consuming manual work, all of which negatively impact their ability to expand their offerings for clients and make better recommendations.
This means that brokers and financial advisors don’t always have the best and the most up-to-date information available to them to help their clients make the best investment choices.
Luma’s Fintech Product as a Solution to the Challenge
Our client, Luma Financial Technologies, creates a platform that has been used by broker dealers and registered investment advisors around the world for nearly a decade to more efficiently source, configure, compare and price structured products and annuities that meet their customer’s specific investment needs.
We know, that’s a lot of jargon, so what does it mean in reality?
Luma provides financial advisors with tools to make long-term better investment choices and to serve their end-clients with more options.
“Luma’s financial technology platform helps financial advisors learn, buy, create, and track structured products and annuities. All in one place. Customized to meet your needs.”
A Complex Web App That’s Integrated With 15+ External Systems
Luma’s platform handles everything from education to monitoring, follow-ups, and everything in between. Their platform is customizable to match the workflows that are unique to each financial institution and to match the internal and external policy and regulatory requirements.
Their platform is composed of four primary modules:
Helps empower advisors and certify them to understand client needs, present the best options to them, and sell successfully.
Due to the complexity of structured products and annuities, they are often hard to compare and customize to the firm’s and client’s requirements. The Product Marketplace helps advisors find the best suited investments for their clients and help them assess what the future performance might look like.
Creating orders and managing pricing is quite complex as well, especially in custom deals. Creation Hub aims to simplify the longer processes involved in the creation of custom structured products.
Helps investment managers track their portfolio and stay on top of all important, time-sensitive information post-trade.
The Technological Challenges
The complexity and feature-richness of Luma’s platform mean a few things:
The product needs to be scalable: teams are using this daily and the system integrates with many external systems.
Because of the need for ease-of-use of the product, complex operations and workflows are needed to deliver on this promise.
The platform is fully customizable. Building a platform that can be customized for each client is no easy feat.
Working in a highly regulated environment (the financial sector) means that security and compliance are top priorities and need to baked into the product.
Thanks to finding product-market-fit, Luma is scaling up, building a new platform from the ground up to better serve their customers, and move closer towards their vision.
Vision, Growth, And The Future
The platform for financial professionals is a successful one, and it scored a few big wins recently, including a $30.1 million investment round at the end of 2021. The company expanded into Europe. With the company’s sight turned towards geographical and product expansions, the next ten to fifteen years of Luma look bright. We are here to make their business goals turn into reality.
“ITMAGINATION's team was able to understand our business needs and set up a development team quickly and to a high quality.” - David Wood, Managing Director
In the following sections, we will walk you through the technological challenges we are solving with their team in order to build a scalable platform for the future which will help support their current offering and expand into other areas.
The Two Worlds: the Present, and the Future
To deliver a quality product to the company’s current customers; to make it easier for Luma’s current customers to increase the adoption of financial products by their customers, the experience must be top notch.
Every day we perform a wide plethora of tasks on the front-end, and the back-end. When we asked our engineers what they typically do, they could not tell us: almost no two tasks they do are the same, and the array of tasks is extraordinarily wide. They start seemingly simple, such as fixing bugs, and end with more abstract assignments, such as 3rd party integrations, making the app faster, or making logs clearer.
Third party intergrations can be challenging. They were in our case, and that’s a bit of an understatement. Each bank in the US has a different set of requirements, a different flow, a different security policy, and other aspects differ as well.
Our experts working on the platform of today are doing so well, that they will soon start helping a second team at Luma. The goal for the other group is much different. It’s to make the next generation of a financial technology (fintech) platform, that is supposed to take Luma to new heights. The new platform will be more responsive and easier to scale and maintain than their current solution.
Luma wanted to release a Minimum Viable Product that ultimately will replace their current platform. We are proud to say that the said MVP was launched in December 2022.
In the meantime, they had to make sure that the products their clients are currently using are up to date and there won’t be any breakdowns.
Luma hired our team at ITMAGINATION to rewrite their platform from Java and Angular.js to a new technology stack (Java & React) based on microservices architecture in a way that ensures that the app is scalable, supports cloud solutions, and makes new feature development and deployment easier.
Currently, the development team supporting Luma’s in-house team includes six people. Their roles vary from Full-stack Developer, Java Developer, Angular Developer, to React Developer and Project Manager.
New product areas needs to happen with a product that’s outstanding. Great is not enough here. Simplifying the inherently complicated world of financial products does not cut it. That’s why a portion of our teams are focused on combining few applications into one.
Therefore, we are working to combine multiple functionalities of the few current platforms into one that will rule them all. That’s the goal, and it’s ahead of us.
As we mentioned before, Spring Microservices, together with React should scale much better than the current set up. Even though it gets the job done (and after all, that what software is supposed to do), we wanted to change the way the software was structured to make the functionality independent of each other.
When everything works, that’s of small importance, but when things go crashing down, one starts to truly appreciate the separation; where otherwise the whole app would crash, now only one function or two do.
Summary & Conclusion
In conclusion, the use of fintech platforms like Luma Financial Technologies is significantly disrupting the investment advisory industry. Their technology makes complicated procedures simpler and gives financial advisors better resources to help consumers. As a key technological partner in expanding and growing Luma's platform, ITMAGINATION is essential.
“Thanks to ITMAGINATION’s flexibility and professionalism, we were able to onboard their developers quickly and start cooperation within only a few weeks after we reached out to them. We have a true partner relationship, and we trust their expertise. They efficiently support work on our platform and help us release new features quickly and reliably.” - David Wood, Managing Director
Multiple third-party system integration, operating in a highly regulated environment, assuring scalability, and satisfying customisation requirements are some of the hurdles this partnership had to overcome. Despite these difficulties, we have successfully released a new financial app that aims to take the place of Luma's current platforms.
ITMAGINATION will continue to be dedicated to assisting Luma in achieving their business objectives by supplying state-of-the-art technology solutions that improve user experience while upholding security and compliance standards as Luma grows and enters new markets. As we continue collaborating to improve the investment advice sector with cutting-edge fintech technologies, the future appears promising for both parties.
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