Review Score: B+
We feel that, while BMO InvestorLine is not the best online discount brokerage in Canada, they are the best of the big 5 bank brokerages. As always, keep in mind in this review that your investment goals and needs are quite idiosyncratic and your best broker might differ from someone else’s.
Opening an account is easy to do and BMO has made it even easier in recent years. You can choose between two services
- BMO InvestorLine Self-Directed. This is the same as virtually any other discount broker. You sign up and you’re on your own to make trades, do research and manage your investments.
- BMO InvestorLine AdviceDirect. This type of account is more geared towards investors who want an investment manager. This account will not be used for this review, but we may discuss it later in our financial planning section. Note: you need to carry a minimum balance of $50,000 in order to qualify for this account type
- Standard Online Stock Trade Commission: $9.95 which is inline with most big bank discount brokerages
- Options Trading Commission is $9.95 + $1 per option contract
- You need $10,000 in a standard account or $25,000 in your RRSP account to avoid a $100/year fee
Features, Support and Tools
- RRSPs accounts are allowed
- RESP accounts are allowed
- TFSA Tax free trading accounts are offered as most brokers do these days
- Mutual funds are allowed in the account
- Commission free ETF trading is not available. The only big 5 Bank to currently offer this service is Scotia iTrade
- They have a decent smartphone app by all accounts
- They have a robo-adviser ETF program called SmartFolio
- They have a live chat service and no call back service for support. By all accounts, support is quite good
- Research tools are exemplary.
Bottom Line: B+
The best of the big bank brokers with great research tools, low-simple costs, a robo trader ETF, but lacking many of the features that non-big bank brokers offer like commission free ETF trading.