Canadian Online Brokerage Review – BMO InvestorLine

Canadian Discount Broker - BMO Investorline

Mailing Address
Attn: BMO InvestorLine
Transit #3973
First Canadian Place
100 King ST. W., Floor B1
Toronto, Ontario
M5X 1H3

Website:: www.bmo.com/self-directed
Email Address: info@bmoinvestorline.com
Phone: 1-888-776-6886
Customer Service Hours: Mon to Fri 8:00 a.m. to 8 p.m ET
Schedule a call with us here.

BMO InvestorLine Review

Updated on: Apr. 25, 2017
BMO InvestorLine is the discount brokerage arm of Bank of Montreal (BMO) Financial Group and is one of Canada’s largest bank-owned discount brokerages. Like other bank-owned online brokerages, BMO InvestorLine is able to offer convenience of integration with other BMO bank services online, as well as in-branch accessibility with representatives.Along with several other major bank-owned online brokerages in early 2014, BMO InvestorLine lowered and simplified their standard commission structure, making planning and understanding costs much easier. Typically, BMO InvestorLine is the most active amongst bank-owned brokerages in offering promotions.

BMO InvestorLine consistently ranks well across reviews although not necessarily earning top spot in some of the major reviews. With pricing now in line with several bank-owned peers, they may turn their attention to improving their educational, promotional or platform offerings as they continue to try and compete with other brokerages.

Invest today and don’t pay fees for a year on assets up to $15,000.*
Use promo code during sign up: STSF

Quick Info

Standard Equity Commission $9.95
Best Commission Price $9.95
Minimum to Open Account $5,000
Maintenance/Inactivity Fees $25/quarter
Commission Free ETF No

» Get Full Pricing Details

Pricing & Fees

From a pricing perspective, BMO InvestorLine’s standard trading commission pricing of $9.95 per trade (flat) for all clients, puts them in line with several other bank-owned brokerages. Unlike other brokerages, however, $9.95 per trade is the best commission price offered regardless of trading activity.

Instead of lower commission pricing for clients who either trade actively or who have high levels of assets BMO InvestorLine offers certain “programs” with added features. For example, active traders, defined by BMO InvestorLine as clients who make 30 or more trades per quarter, are offered additional trading and research features and tools as part of their “Active Trader Program”. For clients with balances or assets between $250,000 and $499,999, there is a “Silver Star” program and for those with $500,000 or more, those clients qualify for the “Gold Star” program. These “5 star” programs offer perks like reduced margin interest rates and waiving of certain administrative fees.

Currently, BMO InvestorLine charges a quarterly fee of $25 for accounts with balances under $10,000 however this charge can be waived if 2 or more commission-generating trades are placed within a quarter or if a client also has a registered account. Note that registered accounts (except for RESPs) with balances under $25,000 (calculated on Dec. 31st) are charged $100 annually. For RESPs, the annual administration charge is $50 for balances under $25,000.

Accounts

Like other online brokerages, BMO InvestorLine offers the ability to trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options. There are several types of accounts offered by BMO InvestorLine including:

  • Cash/Margin accounts
  • Retirement Savings Accounts (RRSPs, LIRAs, LRSPs, RLSP)
  • RESPs
  • TFSAs
  • Retirement Income Accounts

A popular feature among many self-directed investors is the US dollar registered accounts that are offered at no additional charge. As stated in the fees section, several of these accounts can incur fees if balances are under a certain level. For non-registered accounts, the minimum balance to avoid incurring quarterly fees is $10,000 and for RRSPs the minimum balance to avoid the annual $100 charge is $25,000.

Platform/Data

BMO InvestorLine clients can trade using a web browser based or mobile-based platform. The web-based trading platform is much like many other web-based platforms offered as standard by online brokerages. From the platform it is possible to do order entry and a considerable amount of fundamental research as well as basic technical analysis. Real time level 2 quotes are available for 5 Star Program members and for Active Trader program members.

BMO InvestorLine also offers mobile trading via its mobile investing app. The mobile app is available on iPhone as well as on Android and Blackberry.

Reviews & Ratings

 Review What Review Measures Score Date of Ranking
Dalbar Canada Review Client Service Below Average
Above Average
January 2015
January 2014
Globe and Mail Review Overall Impression Letter Grade “B”
5th out of 12
Letter Grade “B”
5th out of 12
Letter Grade “B+”
3rd out of 12
Letter Grade “B”
December 2016
December 2016
December 2015
December 2015
November 2014
November 2014
November 2013
JD Power Review Investor Satisfaction 3rd out of 10
2nd out of 10
2nd out of 10
5th out of 7
3rd out of 11
September 2017
September 2016
September 2015
September 2014
September 2013
MoneySense Reporting & Record Keeping
Best bank-owned brokerage
Top Pick
Top Pick
July 2017
July 2017

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Home Community Canadian Online Brokerage Review – BMO InvestorLine

This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Sparx_Admin Sparx_Admin 1 year, 8 months ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #10163 Reply

    manny

    just signed up for BMO TFSA trading account. First time using their trading services as I have been with TD for over 20 years. Online, I like their site, very interactive, very informative and some great features. However, when you call them from support or questions that when things went wrong. They do not have support staff to accomodate their business / clients. I have called three times, so far each call has averaged more than 7 mins of waiting times and I have had to hang up twice due the lenght of wait. In one case, I lost money given the stock I wanted to trade kept going up while I waited….the worst scenario for an online investor. Hope they will change things soon to address this. Never had such an issue at TD when it came to support staff.

    #10164 Reply
    Profile photo of Sparx_Admin
    Sparx_Admin
    Keymaster

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Manny. There are many online investors (myself included) who have found themselves in the predicament with customer service you described at one time or another. When there are busy times of the year (such as RSP season) wait times on calls usually get a bit longer. When the market is ticking, time also seems much more important – especially if you’re losing money on an actual trade or watching a missed one pull away. The reality for online trading is that there are many things that end up not going according to plan and reaching online brokerage client service is one of them. If the market or a popular stock were to plunge suddenly, I would wager it would be near impossible to reach client reps in a timely fashion. That said, brokerages that can keep wait times down will probably have happier clients in those kinds of scenarios. As an alternative to the calls, you can also try sending your brokerage a tweet (avoid the personal/account details of course) to document your issue and attempts to get in touch. Good luck with the future interactions & hopefully things speed up for you!

    #9980 Reply
    Profile photo of Sparx_Admin
    Sparx_Admin
    Keymaster

    From a pricing perspective, BMO InvestorLine’s standard trading commission pricing of $9.95 per trade (flat) for all clients, puts them in line with s[See the full post at: http://www.sparxtrading.com/canadian-online-brokerage-review-bmo-investorline/]

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by Profile photo of Ken Y Ken Y.
    #10856 Reply
    Profile photo of Sparx_Admin
    Sparx_Admin
    Keymaster

    Submitted by “Mike” via post to the January deals section & provided here for reference:

    I suggest avoiding BMO Investorline. I have been with Investorline for over 15 years and lately it has been nothing but problems. In the past year their service deteriorated to the level on totally unacceptable. Most problems are with online access and underlying trading system. Here is the list of problems, some of them are extremely critical:

    1. Poor security. Online login to your account taxes maximum of 6 characters in password and these passwords are not even case sensitive. Any teenage hacker can break-in to your account in less than 10 minutes. Trading passwords are more secure, but I am still uncomfortable that it is so easy to access client’s holdings – to me it’s a big privacy issue. I raise this issue with IL over 3 years ago and they told me that this will be fixed soon – nothing is done as of Jan 2015.

    2. Overloaded servers. Try logging in to your account around 9:30am or 4pm. It takes 2-3 failed attempts (with very “informative” errors like “The proxy server did not receive a timely response from the upstream server. Reference #1.ec2bf648.1422285118.ef29fd99″ or “We’re sorry. The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. Please try again.”). This morning I couldn’t login to my account for 25 minutes. Even when you are successful with login it takes up to 3 minutes delay until you get to your portfolio page. Often, you get disconnected for no reason just because their servers cannot handle that many simultaneous connections. Typical response from IL support: “our investigation shows that there was no issue related to slower than normal website responsiveness”)

    3. Poor customer service. I reported a number of problems using their support system – the answers I received were either inappropriate (e.g. “we cannot confirm your complaint looking at our server logs) or plain stupid (“May be you should try another browser?”, “Close the session and login again, it may help”)

    4. What scares me most about being with IL is how buggy is their software. Even with such simple things like calculations of totals for market value and unrealized gains/losses. The numbers I see on my portfolio page often don’t correspond to reality – I have to manually export my portfolio page to Excel to get correct numbers. This problem is intermittent, but it occurred to me at least 4 times in the past month.

    5. In one of my accounts I actively trade in options and in the past 3 months I encountered at least 5 days when I would not be able to see bid and ask for all my options for hours. Suddenly, all bid and ask values go to zero and even when you click on the option to trade you get zero values in trading screen. As you can imagine, this is totally unacceptable for options trader as you are unable to trade without knowing what the bids and asks are. I just love the answer I got from IL support (the screenshot was taken at the middle of the trading day and showed zeros for 15+ options, including GOOG, BX, CNQ, ENB, etc.): “With reference to the screenshot you had provided, the prices were reported accordingly as the option holdings had $0.00 bid”.

    At this point I had enough and will be moving to another discount brokerage. It is too bad as IL used to be the best in Canada. I don’t know who re-designed their interfaces a couple of years ago), but apparently it was designed and maintained so badly that they can no longer provide service to clients and they are obviously unable to fix these problems.

    #15054 Reply

    Orius

    New to investorline, #1 issue, all my trades are marked pending until investorline operaters come in around 530am pst, switch my account on? Problem is nasdaq market opens 4hours premarket, bmo opens 1hour premarket. The majority of Merger , buyouts and ER oppertunities come and go before investorline is even open..besides that issue, its ok. I just need to make 194k more and i can use bmo software platform.

    #16676 Reply

    discount brokerage believer

    I have been with BMO investorline over 5 years. Recently trying to convert my LIRA to RLIF so I can exercise 50% market value unlocking. Since January 11, 2016, my request has not been completed yet. When I contacted customer service, I kept receiving message ‘I would be informed until upon receipt of documents via BMO internal courier’. After waiting for 4 weeks, I called BMO investorline customer service and found out my RLIF was opened. I received neither mail, phone call nor BMO investorline internal message informing me the account was opened. Note: BMO RLIF cannot be open online. Again, they asked me to wait. I had talked to 3 customer service representatives there. Two of them promised to call me back but none of them did. The third one who I communicate via their internal message system did not even offer me her telephone extension number. I received the message on Feb 12, 2016 asking me to wait since they are waiting for the 50% unlocking document, the document which was notarized. Feb 16, 2016, I formally was informed the document was lost. They offered to absorb the cost to get the document notarized again, though, the time I spent and the frustration I went through etc. they can’t compensate that. They kept asking existing customers to transfer other business to them. That kind of service standard? No way! I guess they did not pay attention since to them it is not new money.
    I am considersing switching to other brokerage firm.
    Also BMO investorline does not have US DRIP feature.

    #16684 Reply
    Profile photo of Sparx_Admin
    Sparx_Admin
    Keymaster

    Thanks Discount Brokerage Believer (nice name!), it sounds like you’ve had to go through quite the ordeal to have that conversion done. It’s a good lesson to many DIY investors to make sure to follow up with their brokerage, and that mistakes do happen. I agree with you that there should be some consideration for more than just the expense of having the document replaced as the time and frustration count for something too. If there’s a silver lining it’s that client service may be willing to provide something in addition to the replacement cost – perhaps a commission credit on some trades? I think its safe to say that all brokerages may have service issues however what is really interesting is what they do to correct those missteps. Good luck on the hunt for a new brokerage & we’d love to hear how your search goes!

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