Ctrade, the company that brought access to investing on the Zimbabwe stock to the continent platforms of the internet, mobile applications and mobile USSD has unveiled access to purchasing unit trusts through those same platforms. They had been teasing something new for a week now. Currently, Old Mutual Unit Trusts are available and they have promised to add more partners. The service will allow people from anywhere in the country or world to invest in and divest from unit trusts by any of the three methods.

What are unit trusts?

Unit trusts are special purpose investment vehicles. They are a type of mutual fund, a pool of money that is brought together from many individuals and managed by a fund manager. The fund is broken down into many tiny shares (units). The funds may be invested in a variety of investments include shares, bonds, property and any mixture of these. Unit trusts offer two main advantages over directly investing in shares. Firstly there is no need to do extra homework on the companies to be invested in, fund managers do all the work of organising the portfolio of assets. Secondly, the size of the units ensures ease of entry, where some of the best value shares would cost a pretty penny. While these units receive the full benefits of shares or whatever the underlying asset they do not obtain voting rights. Units are issued initially with a fixed number and a maturity date, they are traded on an open market in the duration and that is what Ctrade has made available.

How it works

There’s a guide for Ctrade registration if you don’t already have a Ctrade account but registration is quite simple. For mobile and app users once you have an account and you log in the first screen you meet gives you an option between shares and unit trusts. Once you select the unit trusts option you will be taken to a unit trust dashboard.

On the dashboard to buy you select the Subscribe/invest button and a dialogue will pop up. Here you choose the company (in this case Old Mutual)and you then have to choose between the 5 available funds namely Balanced Fund, Bond Fund, Equity Fund, Money Market Fund and Property Fund. While the names seem pretty much self-explanatory an article shall follow up explaining the funds.  You will be availed with details about the fund including the maturity date. Once you submit your transaction will be processed. The interface also shows you your current portfolio of unit trusts. Ctrade account can be funded via Paynow, Mobile Money, ZIPIT and RTGS bank transfer. Disinvesting is just as easy, by selecting the disinvestment button you will.open a dialogue that prompts you to choose the company, fund and amount you want to sell-off.


It is good to see accessibility to more investment products being made available by Ctrade as the option has existed on their platforms for some time but not been active. Ctrade has promised more improvements to come soon and this could be very exciting. With unit trusts just like shares the minimum buy-in is ZWL$100 per transaction which makes it very accessible.

One thing that pleases me is the awakening that has occurred between the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and peripheral partners like Ctrade in 2020. While we can reminisce on the glory days when foreign capital was pouring into Zimbabwe we have to accept that foreign capital is sensitive and our environment has at times unsettled it. On a national and personal finance level, we have a poor investment culture and without a domestic base, foreign investment is the roof without a foundation. With the ZSE promising more products such as ETFs and Derivatives we look forward to what is coming.