I was able to listen to the iFAST AGM yesterday. While not fully present, some of the questions caught my attention and I would say that I am satisfied with the management’s responses. I will share snippets what I remembered with the caveat that I did not take down notes, so whatever I wrote is purely from my memory and probably my interpretation or even my imagination.
On competition from other stockbrokers
They strived to be of value to the users and might not be the cheapest. Newcomers to the scenes will always dangle discount to have a bite a the market like iFAST when they just came into stockbroking. Examples of being of value include the $8.80 flat fees on SGX and paperless application to link FSMOne account to CDP for selling. My personal experience on the linking of the account was seamless, took only one day to come into effect.
On China business
The momentum is gathering and they decided that there should make use of it to expand their market share which they will benefit in the future. So in the short term, the loss will be larger as they try gain market share. CEO highlighted that the company has always been prudent in using cash, so they do not burn cash unnecessarily unless they deemed it worthwhile. I did not catch the next part but there was some mention that recent years the government is pushing for investment, hence the momentum in the business.
The current business in China at the moment is unit trusts and that will likely to stay in the short term before they expand to other services. CEO shared that this is similar to other countries model where they started with unit trusts too before branching out.
On Malaysia business
The numbers are looking good and there is an increase in account opening. As for digital banking, they are leading a consortium where they will have a 50% stake? Again on this point, I did not get much details but basically it is work in progress.
On listing in other exchanges
They have no intention at the moment to list in other exchanges.
On the management?
I did not get the question but the lead independent director Matthias Yao replied that while he is not directly answering the question, he is giving a sincere reply. He has enjoyed working with iFAST and the management has been responsive. While they are not perfect, whatever that is highlighted by the board to the team, they will work on it. And for the issues that they cannot do, they will explain to the board why they can’t.
On projection of trading volume
CEO highlighted that as a former analyst, he understood that the analysts need details to write a report. However, from a business perspective, it is not possible to predict trading volume. He did point out that they are still seeing good net inflow as shown in the latest quarter results.
On letting retail investors accessing funds meant for accredited investors as a growth engine
I was quite surprised about this question. And as the CEO mentioned that this will be against regulations. Having said that it is possible to have them under fund of funds.
That’s what I have caught and remembered. Take it with many pinches of salt as I don’t even trust my own listening and memory. For the official Q1 report and the questions prior to the AGM, you can refer to the document below.