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Transforming the business of finance
Ranked one of Singapore's fastest growing companies earlier this year, iFAST Corporation is making its mark in the financial industry.
With assets under administration of approximately $9.04 billion as of June 30 this year, it provides a comprehensive range of investment products and services to financial advisory firms, multinational companies and investors in Asia.
The 19-year-old company scooped up two trophies at the recent Singapore Corporate Awards (SCA) 2019 event — its chief finance officer, Mr David Leung Fung Yat, was named Best CFO, while the company was accorded the Best Investor Relations – Bronze Award. Both won in the Companies with less than $300 million in Market Capitalisation category.
This is the third time and second consecutive year its efforts in investor relations have been recognised by the SCA.
The Group previously won the Silver Award for Best Investor Relations in the Companies with less than $300 million in Market Capitalisation category in 2018, and a Merit Award for Best Investor Relations in the First-Year Listed Companies category in 2015.
Championing fintech innovation
These accolades, and others dating back to 2007, reflect how this homegrown company — which started from scratch — has worked its way up into a leading wealth management fintech platform in Asia.
Previously a local outfit with a mission to help clients invest profitably via simple investment products, it has evolved successfully to become a regional wealth management fintech company helping investors here and across Asia.
Its business approach — which emphasises transparency in conducting business, and communicating with its shareholders, clients and potential investors — is part of its success.
Making it in Singapore has been its springboard to regional expansion. It built a reputation of being a reliable and trustworthy business partner, and has since gained a foothold in the overseas markets of Hong Kong, Malaysia, India and China.
Introducing positive disruption
iFAST Corp’s willingness and readiness to be at the forefront of the industry has paid off — its innovative Fintech solutions have empowered clients and business partners.
For instance, in 2000, it disrupted the unit trust distribution industry by bringing the unit trust transactional process online. Prior to this, unit trust purchases were mainly made by banks and insurance companies via offline channels.
iFAST sharpened its focus on building its in-house capabilities for fintech — the technology that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services — allowing it to deliver innovative solutions to both its clients and business partners.
Says its spokesperson: "Leveraging on fintech capabilities, we constantly push out new products and services to better cater to our clients’ needs, clocking several firsts."
This year, it was the first to offer retail bonds under the Securities Commission Malaysia’s new bond seasoning framework, allowing retail investors to trade in retail qualified bonds and sukuks — bonds that comply with Sharia law —from as low as RM1,000 (approximately S$330.70).
The organisation was also the first this year to offer 24-hour bond trading under the Bond Express services in Malaysia to cater to changing investors needs by providing them with the convenience to transact in bonds at any time of the day. This essentially created a mini “bonds exchange”.
Other initiatives, to date, include the introduction of cash management solution and alternative parking facility FSMOne.com Auto-Sweep Account; Bond Express, launched in 2016 in Singapore to give investors access to a select list of bonds with firm and executable pricing at a smaller denomination; and offering stock exchange-traded funds at 0.12 per cent during the initial launch of its stockbroking services in 2016. It also further slashed commission fees to 0.08 per cent for the Singapore, Hong Kong and US exchanges in 2018.
Tapping on tech
It has continued pushing boundaries with the recent launch of the iFAST Global Markets app, which aims to redefine how wealth advisers provide client services.
In a Business Times article on July 22, iFast Corp chairman and chief executive officer Lim Chung Chun explained that wealth advisers remain specialised in their client services because lines were drawn according to products.
The app is designed to empower wealth advisers to become the “Advisers of the Future” by tapping on innovative technological changes and working on a comprehensive full-service model to scale their businesses across different types of products.
He added: "We are a fintech company that builds all our solutions in-house, and we provide our solutions to companies across the five markets we operate in. We are happy to offer the solutions that we have built for our business unit iFast Global Markets to all financial advisers and wealth management firms, with the appropriate customisations."