Canadian Online Discount Broker – BMO InvestorLine

Canadian Discount Broker - BMO Investorline

Contact Information:

Phone: 1-888-776-6886



Mailing Address:

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

Customer Service Hours of Operation:
Mon to Fri 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET

BMO InvestorLine – Review of Pricing – 2014

(updated February 11 2014)

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.

Over the course of 2013, BMO InvestorLine has been working to improve their website accessibility and service offering to remain competitive with their peers. One of the features of BMO InvestorLine is that they often run promotions and deals to attract new clients and/or new assets from existing clients.

In terms of account offerings, pricing and fees, for 2014 (at the time of writing) these are in line with some of their bank-owned brokerage peers.  BMO InvestorLine offers the ability to trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options. The registered accounts offered by BMO InvestorLine include tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and registered education savings plans (RESPs). There are also US dollar versions of the registered accounts available so you can avoid mandatory foreign exchange conversions if you are buying and selling stocks in US dollars only.  In terms of options trading in registered accounts, buying and selling of options are allowed as are writing of covered calls only.  The non-registered accounts offered include cash and margin accounts.

From a pricing perspective, BMO Investorline has now lowered its standard commission pricing to $9.95 per trade (flat) for all clients, regardless of account balance or trading activity level.  Clients with assets between $250,000 to $499,999 qualify for their Silver Star program and those clients with assets greater than $500,000 qualify for the Gold Star program.   As part of their Active Trader program, BMO InvestorLine offers extra perks for active traders, who it defines as anyone making 30 or more trades per quarter however they do not offer lower prices on trading commissions.

At the time of this review (Feb 11/14), BMO InvestorLine has not posted an updated version of its official commission schedule so it is unclear as to whether or not they will be offering similar opportunities to waive inactivity fees or waive fees for balances under a certain amount. 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.  For RESPs, the annual administration charge is $50 for balances under $25,000.

The Bottom Line

Although they are a bank-owned brokerage, the pricing of BMO InvestorLine reflects the current trend in the industry towards lower commission prices and simplified commission structure.   Of course, because they are part of the BMO family, there is the appeal of convenience by enabling clients to access services at the branch level.

The BMO website (at the time of writing) does not show whether or not BMO will implement a similar program to some of its peers in terms of opportunities to waive inactivity fees, however if the commission/fee schedule currently posted on the site holds, there still are a couple of ways to avoid incurring administrative or inactivity fees. As such, it is important to know your trading/activity requirements as well as the balance you will be able to maintain in order to get an accurate picture of the fees you might incur.
Discount Brokerage Pricing Review Table

Account Types OfferedFunding Requirements and FeesRegistered Account Types and Fees
TFSAMinimum Opening Balance$5,000 TFSAAnnual Charge$0
RRSPMinimum Account BalanceNot RequiredTransfer Out$135 (full) $50 (partial)
RESPMinimum Balance for Best or Discounted CommissionN/AWithdrawals$25
CashMinimum Commission per Equity Trade$9.95US Dollar Account
Margin ShortMaximum Commission per Equity Trade$9.95RRSPAnnual Charge$100 (if account <$25 000)
Margin OptionsMinimum Trades per Quarter for Active Trader Program30Transfer Out$135 (full) $50 (partial)
CIPF MemberInactivity or Maintenance Fees$25/quarterUS Dollar Account
Conditions for Inactivity/Maintenance Feesif account balance is <$10,000 or if <2 commission generating trades are placed within a quarterRESPAnnual Charge$50 (if account <$25 000)
Transfer Out$135 (full) $50 (partial)
US Dollar Account
Last updated: Mar. 8, 2016

BMO InvestorLine Website Links:

Here are some useful links to important information on BMO InvestorLine’s website.

Discount Broker Customer Survey Ratings by J.D. Power:
Link to 2013 online broker ratings by the Globe and Mail:

More Online Discount Broker Profiles

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Home Community Canadian Online Brokerage Review – BMO InvestorLine

This topic contains 7 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Jens Naumann 8 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #25877 Reply

    Jens Naumann

    As a visually impaired user, bmo-investorline works well with the free online screenreader NVDA which means it would work fine with JAWS and other screenreaders thanks to BMO’s generally great accessibility protocols. Additionally, the investorline platform uses minimal internet bandwidth so I’m able to conduct trading from very poor connections with a laptop when travelling abroad, which really is a great feature. So far I’ve used it for a couple weeks and find a a pleasure to use.

    #16684 Reply


    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!

    #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.

    #15054 Reply


    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.

    #10856 Reply


    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.

    #9980 Reply


    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:]

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  Ken Y.
    #10164 Reply


    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!

    #10163 Reply


    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.

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