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Proprietary Technology that Propels Innovative Financial Services to New Heights

Developing IT capabilities in-house has been iFAST Corp’s key focus since the Company’s inception in 2000, and this has powered the Company to create innovative Fintech solutions for our customers and partners. iFAST Corp also understands the importance of Cybersecurity and is committed to maintaining a high level of IT security for its online platforms to protect and safeguard its stakeholders’ interests.

For iFAST Corp, the spirit of “Fintech” has been established since the early days of our business. We started as a relatively small financial services company in the year 2000 with the rollout of FSM in Singapore, and we had to create a strong impression on the investor community. Armed with our belief that the investor community was not being offered the best investment experience, we worked hard to create an FSM portal that could make a positive difference with investors, with our emphasis on transparency and research. The engine that made all the different components come together and run smoothly was our IT system.

Our management team was clear that for us to make a difference in the life of investors and wealth advisers, we have to build an innovative and robust IT system that constantly propels our platform services to new improved levels. From the early days of our business, we have built our IT solutions in-house. The guiding principle behind having our IT team in-house is that for innovative services and solutions to be made regularly and rapidly, we must provide our IT teams with a progressive working environment.

Over the years, with a strong frontend and backend system, and progressive developments on our websites and mobile applications, we have been able to deliver reliable and innovative services to our customers. With our business and operations largely Internet-based, we believe our focus on the continual enhancement of our systems, initiatives such as improving the ease of navigation and transactional capabilities, as well as improving user experience and interface, will help us remain competitive in both our B2C and B2B business divisions. Improvements in IT offerings also help to lower cost and improve speed of delivery of our services to clients. Our dependency on external IT services and maintenance can be significantly reduced, and we are also able to speed up the process to develop and roll out new IT initiatives.

Innovation – The Driving Force behind iFAST’s Fintech Capabilities

iFAST Corp believes constant improvement in terms of the functionality and usability of its platforms will empower the Company to remain competitive in this fast-changing industry. iFAST Corp has, over the years, continued to focus on broadening the range and depth of its products and services in order to enhance its customers’ investment experience, as well as ensuring the relevance and suitability of its IT solutions, enabling the Company to achieve sustainable growth.

ITP: iFAST's Foundation of Innovation

Established since 2015, the objective of iFAST IT Partnership (“ITP”) is to provide an environment for our IT personnel that gives them greater freedom and independence to propose and drive projects akin to running their own business, as well as ensuring in-house IT developers are properly incentivised to innovate and enhance current systems. The structure is modelled and customised based on the partnership structure found in some audit and law firms, and the Company hopes the ITPs can drive growth to newer and greater heights, for the benefit of its clients and employees.

In 2022, the Group has a total of 12 ITP teams. The percentage of IT-related workforce against the total workforce of the Company has remained above 25.0% in the last few years.

IT Infrastructure – Our Backbone of Fintech

In 2022, the Company has managed to keep its maximum unscheduled downtime for critical systems lower than the target stipulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”), which is four hours within any period of 12 months. The Company remains committed to dedicating further resources to the enhancement and maintenance of current systems, ensuring customers are not impacted by unscheduled downtime.

IT Capabilities – Enhanced and Streamlined!

iFAST Corp has constantly focused on enhancing customers’ user experience, streamlining investment processes, and improving ease of navigation on our various platforms, and the Company has launched various new IT projects aimed at achieving the above objectives over the years.

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed how investors manage their investments and their interaction with financial advisers. In recent years, the Company has further enhanced various features on its platforms to streamline processes to enhance the overall investment experience for customers.

  1. Electronic submission features were launched over the last two years – the CDP e-linkage and W-8BEN e-submission, which enable investors to apply for these additional services easily. With the submission processes fully digitalised, the backend approval processes were also further streamlined, enabling a reduction in approval lead time for instances where the necessary documents are in place.

  2. In 2022, with the launch of eGIRO by The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), iFAST has also tapped on this new service and integrated it onto its Singapore platforms. This has enabled investors to easily set up their GIRO connection between their iFAST accounts and their bank account, becoming a faster and paperless way for investors to start setting up automatic deductions for their regular investments and/or cash management solutions.

  3. iFAST has started streamlining platform processes that involve cash and cheque payments in 2021 to phase out cheque payments on our various platforms. Apart from providing more convenience to our customers, this process has also helped to reduce paper use and carbon footprint by reducing paper used in envelopes, cheques, additional paper forms, and also eliminating the commuting required for cheques postage and deposit.

  4. Another new initiative launched in 2022 was FSMOne Debit Card, a Platinum Debit Mastercard issued by Nium Pte Ltd. that enabled FSMOne clients to seamlessly spend their investment proceeds, dividends, and available balance in their FSMOne Cash Account online or wherever Mastercard is accepted.

Integrating Technology & Transparency

Innovation and Transparency have been two important core values of iFAST Corp that propelled many of the Company’s business practices and decisions. Building upon its proprietary technology capabilities, the Company has provided easy access to online investing functionalities and product information, while also advocating transparency across both pricing structures and information accessibility across our various platforms, which we believed have benefited the investor community at large.

Publicly available information tools such as Chart Centre and Selectors/Screeners, enable investors to openly search for suitable products or products of interest, and compare information on the different products against market indices for a clearer understanding of its performance. In contrast, many other platforms only allow access to similar information or functions to their users.

On iFAST Corp’s B2C platform FSMOne.com, customers have been subscribing into ETFs monthly using the Regular Savings Plan (“RSP”) service since its launch in 2019, and the combination of enabling investors to adopt the dollar cost averaging strategy and at no commission fees, has assisted investors to kickstart their own ETF investments at regular intervals and low costs. The list of ETFs available for RSP has also been expanded to 116 ETFs (2021: 68) as at end 2022, providing more choices to investors looking to invest regularly.

Cybersecurity – Safeguarding iFAST and Our Stakeholders

iFAST Corp understands the importance of cybersecurity and is committed to ensure cybersecurity best practices are implemented across the entire Company, in order to protect the interests of its stakeholders including its customers, employees, product and services providers as well as its business partners.

We take a holistic and proactive approach towards cybersecurity, and have adopted and integrated cybersecurity best practices developed by organisations such as the International Standardisation Organisation (“ISO”) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”). Our cybersecurity measures and controls are regularly audited by internal teams and external agencies to ensure that audit observations are promptly addressed.

iFAST's Cybersecurity Guardians – Tech Risk and SecOps Departments

iFAST Corp is cognisant that as a Fintech platform, its operations are highly dependent on technology, and hence any compromise or failure due to cybersecurity lapses would adversely impact the Company’s business and reputation.

iFAST's dedicated Tech Risk department is responsible for the development and implementation of cybersecurity governance, policies and standards. The Tech Risk department is also in charge of conducting risk analysis based on the potential threats, risks and vulnerabilities. The department provides recommendations to address such risks, including implementation of appropriate controls.

The SecOps department monitors anomalies within the Company’s IT operations, as well as the usage of IT or operational systems by related support personnel, in order to identify any potential gaps and/or cyber threats that may exist. The team also monitors law enforcement information, or other credible sources of information for any clues that the Company may be or have been compromised.

Online Security for Customers

To protect customers’ online transactions, all transactions done via iFAST Corp’s platforms are processed with strict security using the Secure Sockets Layer (“SSL”) protocol, which is the security standard used by the world’s top financial institutions.

Secure Login (Biometrics and Digital Token) and Email Alert

iFAST Corp is committed to safeguarding its customers’ data and has implemented various measures and initiatives to improve the security features of its various platforms.

The Company has adopted second layer of identity verification upon customer login, such as the Two-Factor Authentication (“2FA”) feature to prevent interception and modification of online transactions since 2015. Subsequently, the Company began to incorporate biometrics 2FA where biometrics including fingerprints can be used to authorise secured logins into iFAST accounts. In the last two years, iFAST platforms including iGM and FSMOne have also incorporated digital token features into the respective mobile applications, allowing customers to link up their devices as their Digital Token to perform 2FA authentication, which brings about more convenience and cost savings than depending on SMS 2FA authentication.