Advisors using Luma Financial Technologies, an annuities and structured products platform backed by Navian Capital, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, now have access to a new comparison tool, according to the firm. Luma Compare allows advisors to compare the prices and performance of various annuities, including variable annuities, fixed index annuities and registered index linked annuities, under test conditions.
Designed to give advisors “increased confidence that they are offering the most appropriate solution” and help them stay Reg BI-compliant, Luma Compare is the latest feature from the firm. It added annuities to its repetoire of structured products earlier this year.
“When you look at our current market environment of minimal low fixed-income yields, high levels of volatility, and fears of mounting inflation, it’s easy to see the attractiveness of the annuity category,” said Keith Burger, national sales director for annuities at Luma, in a statement. “We’re proud to provide our users with the necessary tools to reduce much of the friction that has previously hindered the transacting of the product set.”
Annuities have historically been perceived as too complex and time consuming for advisors, said Luma CEO Tim Bonacci. “As is the case with all the tools offered on the Luma platform, we’re providing the necessary technology to enable advisors to bring product-specific information to their clients in a simplified manner.”
Luma is pursuing a market that’s growing increasingly hot. DPL Financial Partners, a membership organization focused on commission-free insurance products—including annuities—for the RIA market, landed a $26 million investment from PE firm Atlas Merchant Capital and investment firm Eldridge earlier this year. Last month it launched an insurance marketplace with SS&C Technologies on the Black Diamond Wealth Platform. The launch included DPL’s own set of education and discovery tools for advisors and the firm has had a comparison tool available for more than a year.
"In addition to technology, we provide a team of consultants that help advisors sort through the options to ensure annuity solutions are in the client’s best interest and deliver value and transparency as part of the financial plan," added David Lau, founder and CEO of DPL Financial Partners. “I’m pro anything that helps deliver better consumer value when it comes to annuities, and tools that allow product comparison help toward that end."
The moment is ripe for annuity-tech according to analysts. “This is good for advisors,” said Dennis Gallant, senior analyst in the wealth management division of Aite-Novarica of the DPL-SS&C marketplace launch last month. “The timing’s right, especially with wealth transfer and retirement income back on the radar.”
Luma has “gained enormous traction amongst financial advisors,” according to Bonacci, who said between its structured products and annuities business, Luma has seen the rate of firms onboarded rise by more than 150% this year. He did not share how many firms were using the platform. “Our mission has always been to simplify the complex,” he added. “We’re excited about helping the industry and look forward to continuing our efforts to drive the adoption of these and other related products.”