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iFAST shares surge with cheaper stock trading anticipated

Counter jumps 17% to S$0.965 on news that it has been admitted as an SGX securities trading and clearing member

While the online element makes trading cheaper, there will still be a need for the human element in serving customers, said Society of Remisiers (Singapore) president Jimmy Ho.

iFAST chairman Lim Chung Chun said the dealing service in SGX-listed stocks will be launched in the next few weeks.


RETAIL investors might be able to look forward to cheaper online stock trading within a few weeks.

iFAST Financial Pte Ltd, part of investment products distribution platform iFAST Corporation, has been admitted as a securities trading and clearing member, said Singapore Exchange (SGX) in a Friday announcement.

"The admission will allow iFAST Singapore to launch its stock dealing service in SGX-listed stocks over the next few weeks," said iFAST chairman and chief executive officer Lim Chung Chun in a statement.

iFAST shares surged on the news, closing at S$0.965, up S$0.14 or 17 per cent with over 6 million shares traded. The company counts Singapore Press Holdings, which owns The Business Times, as among its shareholders.

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The latest news comes half a year after an abortive attempt by iFAST to facilitate stock trades at a 0.12 per cent commission and a minimum commission of S$10. For exchange-traded funds, the commission was to be even lower at 0.08 per cent.

These rates were significantly lower than the 0.18-0.28 per cent commissions and S$25 minimums offered by many existing brokers for online trades.

However, OCBC Securities, which was the appointed middleman to execute and settle stock trades, pulled out shortly after the service launched, citing a conflict with its own offerings. It is unclear if iFAST's new stock offering will be priced similarly.

"I'm afraid we are only able to share with you the exact transactional details closer to the launch date," said a spokesman in response to queries from BT.

In a statement on Friday, SGX head of equities and fixed income Chew Sutat said: "As technology changes the distribution landscape worldwide, we look forward to iFAST's participation in our securities market, bringing new investors and contributing to the investor education efforts in Singapore."

Society of Remisiers (Singapore) president Jimmy Ho said it is uncertain how the market will take shape. While the entry of cheaper online trading will affect remisiers' businesses, there will still be a need for humans to intermediate trades,22 he said.

"We do foresee the changing landscape, and I think there's a need for remisiers to work out something in the face of the new environment," he said.

"Even with robo-advisers, it doesn't mean the client will take whatever is generated."

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