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 platform / service.
- 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 on 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.
Questrade offers the cheapest trades! Quickly create your account online and get started with $50 in Free Trades.
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.
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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 inholdings.
Those interested in mutual funds, such at 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).
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.
Usability is a focus across all devices for BMO InvestorLine. I personally like it when the menus are on the left and all you need to do is follow from the left to the right as opposed to switching axis with your eyes.
All discount brokers have to provide access to the same features in the end. You will have to learn the words used by the discount broker and remember where it’s located.
It’s a little bit like the grocery store and the setup. You find similar content in all the grocery stores but the layout is usually slightly different.
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.
In this day and age, you would expect that a discount broker can provide you with the performance of your account. It’s not clear what BMO InvestorLine has to offer here. Would love to hear what the users have to say.
I personally would not stop tracking my performance on my own using a spreadsheet. See how I track my Rate of Return (or ROR) for accurate performance tracking. The first priority of a discount broker is to properly report on income tax.
As it happens, I have made trades from my phone and considering everything else we do with our phone, the mobile version of the platform should be good.
Mobile support is a strength with BMO Investor Line. Remember that some content is easier to see and organize on a large screen. Use the appropriate device for the work you want to do.
Please note that the banks are always working on improving the interfaces and small updates may introduce changes.
BMO InvestorLine’s research has been highly rated over the years. There are a few sources such as Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, and their own research.
BMO InvestorLine has an online panel where users can share their opinion 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 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday.
Discount Brokers Available
While the easiest path to selecting a discount broker is to use the one affiliated with your bank, there are options available with different feature set and cost that may best fit your needs. Be sure to review all of your options.