Yes, a new platform has arrived in Singapore as announced in the newspaper today, and while most people did not see this coming, I have been following the company’s growth and development closely over the last year or two when they started to expand their business to overseas markets, being a shareholder of IFAST, so this doesn’t come as much as a surprise to me.
So what’s up with FSMOne? Well it is a unified account which comprises of their funds, bonds and equities platforms, and also their robo-investing product called MAPS.
So after logging in as an “old user” with my NRIC, I was prompted to change my user ID, which I’m not quite sure why – for security reasons, perhaps? Anyway, after that slight account change and the usual OTP authentication, I poked around the site. Initial impression is that it is quite haphazard and basically more like a web portal than a platform. Also, it’s running a little bit slow, but that’s expected on initial launch, as there are a ton of things going on in the background.
Taking a look at the equities trading platform, it looks quite familiar to other brokerage platforms.
Well, nothing much to brag or go into detail about it, as the order types are similar to what Standard Chartered can offer. Let’s take a look at their OTC bond platform.
Pretty much standard. However, when you click on a bond, details are shown for you.
I quite like the “Special Feature(s)” section, where you can click on each feature of the bond to view the explanation of the feature. Other than that, it has the usual sections on current price, basic information, performance, offering document download, performance/profit calculator and charts (why would one want to chart a bond if you’re retail/AI?).
One special feature of their OTC bond platform is that AIs (Accredited Investors) can buy a smaller chunk of their bonds on offer, thereby reducing the amount of capital required and the risk that they can take should a bond default.
Now let’s take a look at their robo-investing platform, called MAPS.
For those that do not know what robo-investing means, in a nutshell, how it works is that you can put in either a lump sum at the beginning and/or a monthly sum, and the algorithm(s) which IFAST has developed for 5 risk profiles will automatically invest and/or divest in and out financial instruments (i.e. ETFs, unit trusts, equities and bonds) in order maintain the portfolio balance and to achieve a certain goal corresponding with the risk level stated.
While I do not have access to the MAPS as I would need to fork out a minimum of 2 months’ salary to them ($5k), it does look promising. However, I am rather concerned that IFAST would use unit trusts in their robo-investing product. I guess I would be giving this the skip, then.
Now comes to the part which everyone wants to know – the fees. Do note that everything is “prepaid”, i.e. you have to put up cash before you can buy anything. Also, note that ETFs and bonds are charged a platform fee, which is ridiculous in my opinion.
Well, nothing much, the rates are pretty standard, I won’t cover that, but I’m more concerned with their custodian fees and charges for securities, which took me a while to find. Eventually, I found it on their FAQ section of the website.
Doesn’t look complete, as there is no information on dividend handling and corporate action charges – presumably it’s free?
Looks like they’re doing things slightly different from StanChart, as they use e-mail, rather than SMS for corporate action notifications.
Transfer fees are waived for now too, so I plan to transfer one or two securities in to test their system out.
All in all, it looks like a pretty decent offering from IFAST, and I hope this business takes off for them, and make other players more competitive for their customers.