Marching 6,045km for Charity in Australia

iFAST Corp brought its largest ever contingent, consisting of 76 employees, wealth advisers and directors to Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane, as part of its iWALK Initiative (“iFAST Wealth Advisers Lead Kindness Initiative”)

What started as a challenge issued by a few extreme sports veterans in iFAST Corporation Ltd. (“iFAST Corp”) in 2011 quickly engulfed others who were new to this type of endurance sports. From sending one team of four employees in 2011 to tackle Hong Kong’ mountainous terrain as part of Oxfam Trailwalker, this year’s contingent from iFAST Corp to Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane was its largest ever at a total of 76 walkers. Over the 17-19 June 2016 period, the 76 walkers achieved a magnificent feat of covering a total of 6,045km in Brisbane!

This year, iFAST Corp decided to spread the joy and excitement over endurance sports to raise funds for charity with the wealth advisers using its Business-to-Business (B2B) platform. Over 5,500 wealth advisers from 170 financial advisory companies, financial institutions and banks use the B2B platform across iFAST Corp’s regional markets. A total of 76 walkers, including 40 wealth advisers and two directors from iFAST Corp’s board of directors took the leap of faith to travel to Brisbane, with many wanting to kill two birds with one stone: challenge themselves physically and mentally for an endurance event, and raise funds for the causes Oxfam Trailwalker supports. Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane offers two distances to participants: 60km and 100km. 11 teams consisting of 44 walkers took on 100km (which has to be completed within 48 hours), while 8 teams with 32 walkers participated in 60km (which has to be completed within 24 hours).

Before the actual walk in Brisbane, the iWALK team of walkers had a few months to diligently prepare themselves for the day of reckoning, with those in Singapore trying to compensate for Singapore’s lack of steep slopes and tough terrain by doing multiple rounds of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and MacRitchie Reservoir Park. For those who had tackled Oxfam Trailwalkers in the past, the trainings were a good time for them to share their experience on the dos and don’ts with the newbies.

iWALK - OXFAM 2016

On 17 June for those who walked the 100km (and on 18 June for those who walked the 60km), the walkers came all prepared at the starting line, with many enjoying the carnival-like atmosphere and taking photos to update their friends and donors on social media. The day of the actual walk took place on a sunny and cool day at Lake Manchester in Brisbane. While the day started sunny, the temperature was still a cool 15 degrees, which dropped all the way to 8-9 degrees by sunset. That was when the walkers had to dig for their windbreaker, gloves and in some cases, even heat pads, to keep themselves warm.

For the 100km distance, the walkers had a total of six checkpoints for rest and that was when the walkers took the chance to replenish their reserves, with food topping the list! Instant noodle and rice mixed with sausages never tasted that good, as a few colleagues-turned-volunteers cooked up a mini-feast. Some certainly surprised the walkers on the upside with the quality of the food served! Many of the iWALK Initiative walkers were thankful for the support team members’ unwavering dedication in making their life easier before and during the walk. “My sincere thanks goes to our awesome support crew! They took care of us like family,” revealed Ruben, one of the wealth advisers who took part in Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane.

The friendly greetings exchanged among the walkers from different nationalities, including the ubiquitous “Good day, mate!” from the Australians, warmed the walkers’ heart, as they tackled blisters, with the more serious injuries afflicting the iFAST walkers extending to twisted ankles and sore knees. The checkpoints were also a good time for some of the walkers to have a massage which was thoughtfully provided by the organisers.

Out of the 76 walkers, 68 completed their walk, while the other eight walkers had to retire due to injuries. The average completion time for the 100km distance was 30 hours, with the fastest iWALK team coming from Hong Kong. The “iWALK: Hong Kong Hikers” team consisted of four wealth advisers from Convoy Financial Services Limited, who achieved an amazing feat of completing 100km in just 16 hours 59 minutes. They finished as the 9th team across all categories in Brisbane, and as the first team among Financial Services teams.

The average completion time for the iWALK teams in the 60km segment was 19 hours, with the fastest team, “iWALK: iFAST SG Team” (consisting of iFAST Corp’s Group Chief Operating Officer, and two directors on iFAST Corp’s board of directors) finishing in 16 hours 50 minutes. The amount raised as part of the iWALK Initiative stood at S$51,344 – according to Oxfam Trailwalker, this amount is sufficient to build three small community dams in Mozambique, providing access to the water especially during the dry season. As one of the wealth advisers, Leon, commented, “It was my pride and honour to be part of the iWALK 100km team. I could play a part in contributing back to society and to fight poverty. Personally, it was a journey of faith, and resembles life with its ups and downs. But as long as you have faith, you will reach the end point eventually.”

iWALK - OXFAM 2016

History of iFAST Corp’s Participation in Sports and Charities
Welcome to the world of iFAST Corp and its growing fascination with endurance sports. While the company’s name, iFAST, suggests a certain passion for sprints, the type that Usain Bolt excels in, the company’s passion is actually for longer distances, at 60km or 100km to be precise.

iFAST Corp’s first participation in an Oxfam Trailwalker dates back to 2011. In 2011, iFAST took a dip in the world of endurance sports and fundraising by sending a team of four walkers in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s trail was certainly a baptism of fire – out of the four walkers who participated in Oxfam Trailwalker Hong Kong in 2011, only one completed the walk. Hong Kong’s Oxfam trail is known to test Her Majesty’s Army. Hong Kong’s mountainous terrain inspired the Oxfam organisers to create a 100km trail sometime in the 1980s. According to Oxfam Trailwalker, “it was the Queen’s Gurkha Signals Regiment (QGS) in Hong Kong who first started Trailwalker more than 30 years ago as a training exercise to test soldiers’ stamina and teamwork skills.” The Gurkhas are so-called because they are from the small Nepalese state of Gurkha.

But that was the start of an affair that has led to another crack at Oxfam Trailwalker in 2012: with a total of four teams made up of 16 walkers, 13 finished the Hong Kong Oxfam Trailwalker within 48 hours. Out of the 16 walkers, two were female walkers who successfully defied the odds and completed the walk. In August 2013, 24 walkers forming six teams from iFAST Corp’s regional markets took part in the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2013, which was held on 23-25 August 2013. At the finishing point, 19 walkers from iFAST completed the walk, including four female walkers. The total distance covered stood at 2,213km for all the iFAST walkers; the fastest iFAST team completed the walk in 24:52 hours while the average time taken by all the iFAST teams was 34:23 hours.

Apart from its support for the Oxfam Trailwalker, iFAST Corp is the title sponsor of the iFAST Metro Race (“IMR”) in Hong Kong. The IMR is an orienteering race that is open to iFAST Corp’s employees, business partners and the public. Combining sports (teams of four members have to score the highest points within a time limit of two hours by clearing as many checkpoints as possible), as well as strategy and financial education (some checkpoints give bonus points based on investment-related questions), the IMR was first held in 2013. Among the various orienteering races held in Hong Kong, the IMR stood out for being the first-ever night orienteering race held in Hong Kong’s Central Business District. The IMR supports charity causes by raising funds and greater awareness for various causes. The 2015 edition of the IMR was organised by Y2Y Orienteering Development and Centre, and co-organised by Vsports Limited, to promote corporate social responsibility and the spirit of contributing to the society, while aiming to raise funds for charity projects under iFAST Corp’s selected beneficiary organisation, St. James’ Settlement.

In March 2016, iFAST Corp also co-organised a charity fundraising event, the “Challenge for Children 2016” with Students Care Service (“SCS C4C 2016”), a registered charity and a member of the National Council of Social Service, in Singapore. The SCS C4C 2016 was set against the amazing backdrop comprising various i Light Marina Bay 2016 light art installations and the Singapore River night scene, where teams of six will take on challenges at game stations across Marina Bay. Each station showcased games that highlight difficulties faced by SCS students, such as learning difficulties, and will be manned by student leaders and volunteers. In addition, SCS students assumed the roles of game station masters, where they are given the opportunity to build up confidence when interacting with adults, and learn to carry themselves in a positive manner.

iWALK - OXFAM 2016

About iFAST Corp

iFAST Corp (stock code: AIY) is an Internet-based investment products distribution platform. Incorporated in the year 2000 in Singapore and listed on the SGX-Mainboard in December 2014, iFAST Corp is also present in Hong Kong, Malaysia and China. The Group provides a comprehensive range of investment products and services, to financial advisory (FA) firms, banks, financial institutions, multinational companies, as well as retail and high net worth (HNW) investors in Asia.

The Group offers access to over 2,500 investment products including funds, bonds and Singapore Government Securities (SGS), Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), as well as insurance products, and services including online discretionary portfolio management services (DPMS), research and investment seminars, financial technology (fintech) solutions, investment administration and transactions services. iFAST Corp has two main business divisions, namely its Business-to-Consumer (B2C) website, Fundsupermart.com (FSM), targeted at DIY investors; and its Business-to-Business (B2B) platform that caters to the specialised needs of FA companies, banks and financial institutions. Over 5,500 wealth advisers from more than 170 FA companies, banks and financial institutions, use the iFAST B2B platform.

The Group’s mission statement is, “To help investors around the world invest globally and profitably”. The Group won the “Most Transparent Company Award 2015, New Issues Category” at the SIAS Investors’ Choice Awards 2015, as well as the “Best Investor Relations – Merit Award” for First-Year Listed Companies at the Singapore Corporate Awards 2015.

About Oxfam International

Oxfam is an international confederation of 18 organisations working together with partners and local communities in more than 90 countries. In Oxfam’s own words, Oxfam Trailwalker is “one of the world’s leading team endurance challenges, with 14 events in 10 countries). As shared on the Oxfam webpage, the more current emergencies Oxfam Trailwalker is looking into include: the Nepal earthquake (more than 8,800 people were killed in the April 2015 earthquake, and tens of thousands of people were displaced); the Syria crisis (over 13.5 million people, half of Syria’s pre-war population, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance); and the Ethiopia drought (which has led to the worst food crisis in 30 years). More information can be gleaned from Oxfam here: https://www.oxfam.org.au/what-we-do/emergencies/learn-about-current-emergencies/ (Source: Oxfam)

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