Astute Wealth alleges copyright breach

Financial Standard Online
July 13, 2021 AEST

Astute Wealth Advice is alleging that another fintech has ripped off its proprietary questionnaire and has been forced to legal take action.

Astute served a Cease and Desist letter to Lumiant, alleging that it  breached “substantial copyright” with respect to its financial planning client engagement platform AstuteWheel.

Astute claims that Lumiant’s Confidence Questionnaire, a series of financial health questions on its platform, has “substantially the same words as almost all of the text” in AstuteWheel’s five-minute Health Check. Astute has been offering its questionnaire since 2011.

As an example, of the 24 questions asked in the retired section of the survey, 20 of Lumiant’s questions are the same except that the pronoun changes from my/mine to you/your.

Astute found a similar pattern in the employed, home duties and unemployed sections of the survey. It also alleges that the rating questions and scores are similar.

Astute managing director Hans Egger said: “It is extremely disappointing to discover that a financial services company appears to have copied our material. Given all that has happened in and to the financial advice industry in Australia over the past decade, if any industry knows how imperative it is to behave with honesty and integrity, it is this one.”

Lumiant has specifically mentioned AstuteWheel as a domestic competitor in a fundraising offer document dated 11 November 2020, Egger said, adding that it is therefore “likely that Lumiant had copied Astute Wealth’s material”.

“We will not stand by and allow Lumiant to reproduce our intellectual property for their commercial advantage,” he said.

“Astute Wealth intends to commence proceedings against Lumiant, unless certain terms are met by 20 July 2021.”

Some of the terms include forcing Lumiant to inform all clients who have used its questionnaire that it infringed Astute’s copyright and to cease providing the questionnaire.

Santi Burridge launched Lumiant in February as a platform helping advisers deliver goals-based advice. It closed a round of funding on June 22 with the aim of raising another $2 million to expand.

A Lumiant spokesperson said: “Lumiant supports fair business and will not be providing comments on ongoing legal matters until appropriate.”

Originally published in Financial Standard on July 13th, 2021

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