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iFast Q3 net profit surges 150.6% to S$6.2m on higher revenue

WEALTH management and brokerage platform iFast Corporation on Friday reported a net profit of S$6.2 million for the third quarter ended Sept 30, up 150.6 per cent from S$2.5 million in the year-ago period.

The group's "record high" earnings were achieved on the back of a 33.3 per cent year-on-year increase in gross revenue to S$45 million from S$33.8 million last year, as both its business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) divisions booked improvements in revenue contributions.

The B2C segment's revenue grew 69.5 per cent from the previous year to S$9.2 million from S$5.4 million last year due primarily to "significant increases" in transaction fees resulting from increased investment subscription from customers especially in exchange-traded funds and stocks, as well as service fees arising from the provision of currency conversion administration services.

Meanwhile, revenue from the B2B arm also enjoyed a lift of 26.3 per cent to S$35.8 million from S$28.3 million in the previous year on the back of the progressive lifting of Covid-19 "circuit-breaker" measures. iFast said the trade volume of customers' investment subscription in unit trusts and portfolio services also continued to grow in the third quarter.

However, these increases in trade volume across both business segments resulted in a 30.8 per cent rise in commissions and fees paid or payable to third-party financial advisers and securities brokerage to S$22.1 million in the third quarter, up from S$16.9 million the previous year.

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The company's net flows of client assets also recorded a new high of S$1.07 billion in the third quarter, raising its assets under administration to a record S$12.59 billion as at end-September.

Earnings per share for the quarter stood at 2.18 Singapore cents, up from 0.9 cent in the corresponding quarter last year.

An interim cash dividend of 0.8 Singapore cent per ordinary share was declared for the quarter, up marginally from 0.75 cent last year. The dividend will be paid out on Nov 13, after books closure on Nov 4.

iFast said the decision regarding the dividend payout takes into consideration "a balance between rewarding shareholders and retaining sufficient capital in the event of a need for expansion such as the launch of the digital bank business in Singapore", should its application for a digital wholesale bank licence be successful.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced in June that it will award the digital bank licences by the end of this year, and will issue up to three digital wholesale bank licences.

The company attributed its "robust growth" to its past investments in building up a strong integrated digital wealth management platform. Barring unforeseen circumstances, iFast is also expecting its full-year performance for this fiscal year to show "robust growth in profit and revenue".

"The group will continue to work hard on various initiatives in all existing markets that (it) operates in to ensure that our medium to long-term growth prospects will remain strong," added iFast.

iFast shares rose S$0.02 or 0.6 per cent to close at S$3.26 on Thursday.

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