iFast Q1 profit falls 41.8% amid weak revenue growth, higher expenses; AUM up 8.7% over quarter

SINGAPORE - Wealth management fintech platform iFast Corporation on Saturday (April 27) posted a 41.8 per cent decline in its bottom line to $1.6 million for the three months ended March 31, from a net profit of $2.75 million in the year-ago period.

This translates to an earnings per share of 0.60 cent for the first quarter, compared to 1.04 cent in the previous year.

The board has declared an interim dividend per share of 0.75 cent for the first quarter, the same as fiscal 2018's Q1.

The group said it started 2019 with weak revenue and profitability in January and February, "following an extended period of poor financial market conditions" between Q2 2018 and the end of 2018. This resulted in total net revenue growing by only 4.4 per cent year on year in the first quarter of this year.

Profit before tax fell 37.5 per cent year on year, as a result of the weak revenue growth in the early part of this year and its efforts in investing for ongoing growth, it said.

Recurring net revenue rose 8.8 per cent, but non-recurring net revenue saw a 13.2 per cent decline from a year ago.

Total operating expenses for Q1 increased 13.4 per cent from the year-ago period, due to continued efforts to strengthen the range of products and services it offers, said iFast.

The group's assets under administration (AUM) was at a record high of $8.75 billion as at March 31, increasing by 8.7 per cent from $8.05 billion at the end of 2018.

Looking forward, the group expects its revenue and profitability to improve in the second quarter compared to the first quarter, barring unforeseen circumstances.

iFast shares closed up three cents or 2.6 per cent at $1.17 on Friday.