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6 Key Points About iFAST (after losing bid for digital banking licence) (guest post)

6 Key Points About iFAST (after losing bid for digital banking licence) (guest post)

On Friday evening, MAS announced that it will award full digital banking licences to Internet firm Sea and the Grab-Singtel consortium, as well as DWB licences to China’s Ant Group and a consortium led by Greenland Financial. The iFast’s consortium, with China’s Yillion Group and Hande Group, fails bid for digital wholesale bank (DWB) licence and its share price is down 30% today.

Singapore to have 4 digital banks, with Grab-Singtel and Sea getting digital full bank licences, Banking News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

This post was originally posted here. The writer, SweeSwee is a veteran community member on InvestingNote, with a username known as @Sweeswee and has 300+ followers.


1. To say the least, I am very disappointed that iFast did not get the WDB license.

2. While I understand that Ant was a firm favorite and they won, I don’t quite understand why only 2 WDB licenses were awarded when they had planned for up to 3. Did iFast fail to even meet the WDB requirements? I thought its unlikely since Lim CC would be experienced enough to satisfy all the requirements before bidding. Maybe MAS wants the company to already have at least S$100m in cash now? iFast’s thinking was that it could easily raise S$100m from consortium partners and the market if it wins.

Also, I scratch my head why the consortium led by Greenland could win. Greenland’s parent company is among the biggest property developers in China but it is also heavily indebted, highly geared. I believe its financial arm also does not have much track record in the finance business, especially in South East Asia.

Why give it to Greenland? Why MAS does not award to one of the biggest, best run, most promising home-grown fintech companies in Singapore?

3. To be fair to iFast, part of the reasons why its share price soared in the last few months was because its existing businesses have done very well. The business units continued to register strong growth and higher profits throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. AUA continues to rise to record levels quarter after quarter.

Indeed, it also just won licenses to operate its platform for stocks trading in Malaysia and to operate as a private fund manager in China. Both these new business lines will commence operations in Q1 2021 and start to bring more revenues for FY21.

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