BMO InvestorLine Review: Smooth Interface

Dividend Earner

Dividend Earner

Updated on

5 min read Affiliate Disclosure

BMO InvestorLine is the discount broker platform from the Bank of Montreal. BMO InvestorLine is probably the most advertised platform for investing I have seen for the past few years.

There are two approaches to your account with BMO InvestorLine. You need to consider one of the following platforms/services.

  • BMO InvestorLine Self-Directed. This approach is similar to the other discount brokers and will be the basis for my review. You are basically on your own as an investor making all the decisions.
  • BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect. Provides portfolio management and fees are a percentage of your account. You need a minimum of $50,000 to open this kind of account.

BMO InvestorLine is not the most used discount broker by my readers as you can see below. It ranks 5th with Questrade not far behind. At first glance, the BMO website doesn’t tell me much about the features and what to expect as an investor.

There is a lot of information on customer service, learning and holding your hands but the details are harder to get to. I wish there was a practice account, it’s the little features that end up making a difference in the long term for customers to make a decision.

BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect is a unique proposition for investors wanting support. It’s worth walking into a branch and getting a walkthrough of the service.


BMO InvestorLine

The trading platform for one of the major banks. Convenient and feature-complete but with bank pricing.

BMO InvestorLine Self-Directed Summary

Here is a summary to get you started, but there is a lot more information below if you want to get into the details.

Choosing a discount broker is a personal choice and the discount broker should satisfy your requirements. A dual currency account is critical to leverage investing in US stocks. Many of the Canadian large-cap stocks dual trade on the NYSE and will pay dividends in USD.

Hidden Sort wdt_ID Features BMO InvestorLine Comments
1 1 Stock Transaction Fee $9.95 Represents 1% with a $1,000 trade. Cheapest is Questrade with just under $6 per trade.
2 2 ETF Transaction Fee $9.95 If ETFs is what you need, no fees exists with others.
4 3 Dual Currency Account Yes A must to build a growing portfolio. US holdings play a big role in my performance.
6 4 Synthetic DRIP No A must have with a dividend growth investing strategy.
7 5 DRIP Discount No A must for any dividend investor.
8 8 Access To Research Morningstar Most platforms are disappointing for research. Don't decide based on this factor.
9 10 Account Minimum $15,000 for non-registered; $25,000 for RRSP It's relatively small. There are other ways to waive fees as a client too.
10 11 Accounts Non-Registered; RRSP; TFSA; RESP; RRIF; LIF; LIRA It's all of them. Can't ask for more.
11 12 Mobile App Fresh Update The new update works really well.
3 13 Real-Time Quotes Yes, when you qualify It starts once you have over $250K in assets
5 14 Norbert's Gambit Yes, with support The BEST setup to exchange CAD to USD.

BMO InvestorLine FAQ

Can I have the fees waived with BMO InvestorLine Self-Directed?

No indications that any of the transaction fees can be waived. If low fees are critical, you should consider Questrade.

You can avoid the maintenance fee by having a minimum of $15,000 in assets or $25,000 for a RRSP.

How do I deposit money into my BMO InvestorLine account?

As a BMO client, you can easily transfer money, otherwise you do it through a bill payment online.

You can always do a transfer of assets from another institution. That’s how I got started with a transfer.

Switching broker is also easy, you fill out the forms and let them do all the work.

How can I contact BMO InvestorLine customer support?

You can do so by phone or using MyLink through the site. For anything urgent, do it over the phone.

Trading Costs

This is probably one of the most important criteria for everyone. I like to look at the cost of a transaction to ensure I am satisfied to invest $1,000 minimum at this cost.

The basic online stock transaction will set you back $9.95. You can find all the transaction costs and fees on their website. A more detailed PDF can be found here covering all the fees. 

BMO InvestorLine has a 5-Star Program where your overall portfolio value gives you access to lower fees and BMO Capital Market research. Unfortunately, to get access to the research, you need at least $250K in holdings.

Those interested in mutual funds, such as the BMO Monthly Income Fund, pay no fees on the transactions like most other discount brokers since fees are built in through MER (Management Expense Ratio).

There are however some rules around the minimum amounts you need to invest. Be sure to read the details on the minimum for mutual fund investing.

Investment Account Details

All account types are offered and the minimum required varies to avoid paying an administration fee.

The administration fee on accounts depends on the size of your holdings. If your non-registered account has more than $15,000 have no fees but the minimum on a RRSP is $25,000.

Moving around the interface should be easy and not a learning experience every time you want to make a transaction. I always make my trade with a limit order so you want to ensure the interface is not prone to mistakes.

One great feature is that you get an email notification when your order is filled. That’s a great feature that prevents you from watching the screen.

Investment Research

BMO InvestorLine’s research has been highly rated over the years. There are a few sources such as Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, and their research.

Customer Service

BMO InvestorLine has an online panel where users can share their opinions and feedback. The company appears to be listening to its customers and that’s the first step in customer service.

You can also request to be contacted or call. Phone support is available from 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday.