There’s been a lot of activity in the investing space in 2020. While the pandemic and lockdown certainly slowed things down they could not hold down the determination that is coming from the sector including the slightly underwhelming Victoria Falls Stock Exchange, The Launch of ETFs, the activity in unit trusts and other moves. One of the front runners in the growth of the investment culture in Zimbabwe which firstly brought trading in shares to a mobile or computer when the practice was still occurring through brokers. ZSE launched their own computer-based ZSE direct to grow the space and C-Trade followed up with the addition of unit trusts and investment clubs to their platforms. Now they have addressed one of their sticking points with an update to their Android app which has a lot to be excited about.

New look Ctrade Android app

The new-look app sticks to a lot of what worked with the previous interface and makes improvements where needed. The change is not just aesthetic. They have added some extra items to the menu while retaining some of the design elements making this feel like a monumental jump from the previous version.

ZSE direct threat

When the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange launched their own web-based ZSE direct many assumed that they would threaten Ctrade’s position and force them into action. This hasn’t quite been the case. While there are users who use both, the multi-platform approach of C-Trade seems to be a bonus. With both a mobile app and a USSD option they certainly make access easier but also more comfortable.  We are a mobile-first landscape where ZSE direct was built with computers in mind, Ctrade’s mobile focus is a good advantage to have.

C-trade not just a facelift

So what we have is more than a face-lift. A few exciting items have been added and while all of them are not active yet you can sense that C-trade is looking to offer so much more. The bottom of the home page has options that include Unit Trusts, Clubs, FX auction, IPOs, Issuer section and a Commodities section. Let’s touch on each briefly.

Old Mutual Unit Trusts were onboarded some time back so no surprises there yet. With the unit trust providers looking to increase the popularity of their products, we should see more come to C-trade.

Investment clubs have been a C-trade feature for a while now. They were however only available through the unfenced and functionally limited USSD. Clubs were added to the app in live beta almost 2 months ago and now clubs come to the main app. Clubs allow group investing are a good pathway for entry into investing.

The foreign currency auction (FX auction) option still has coming soon to it. So while we cannot be sure what it will entail we can speculate that at the very least it provides an information portal to auction results.

Initial Public Offerings have been scarce on the ZSE. However, they still represent some of the greatest opportunities for investors. Perhaps this one has been included in hopes of being useful in the future.

The issuer option is only available to security issuers and will likely offer insights and a portal for them to share information through C-trade.

The recently touted commodities exchange may also make its way to C-trade. At present, it is non-functioning so it is hard to tell how much functionality will be offered but this is certainly welcome.

Improved UI and UX

At first glance, the change looks like an iteration with changes to colour and user interface (UI). However, with the opportunity to use the app I have come to appreciate the changes to User Experience (UX) as a whole. The app is smoother running, visually better and more intuitive for the beginner user. While there is still a lot of information to display, as there should be with complicated markets, the new app does a great job of displaying that information in ways we can digest.  The addition of a news tab and improved snapshots of counters will be welcome to users. All the information you need in one look. Charts still display from right to left which can throw of users a little but can be adjusted to.

If you haven’t tried Ctrade yet or dislike the old version this is your opportunity to try out the new version. It will be available via Google play store. iOS device users will receive an update soon as we are informed the work on it continues.