BMO InvestorLine Review: The Best Online Discount Brokerage (2019)

In this article, let’s look at everything about BMO InvestorLine, what it has to offer, followed by features, pros and cons and pricing. Let’s get started. 

BMO’s InvestorLine is considered to be the most advertised of all the investment platforms in recent years. They also seem to be committed and focused towards their online platform and have managed to earn positive reviews from the industry experts.

Knowing when and how to invest has the potential to make you thousands of dollars without any hassle. But it all comes down to knowing how to invest or using the best investment company to suit your needs.

BMO InvestorLine – Introduction

The Bank of Montreal started a self-directed investing service in 1988 and its focus was to make it easier for customers to invest in what they want. In 2000 this service was transformed into BMO InvestorLine and it was solely online.

Since then, this is the best and most innovative investment idea that they worked on. The bank is offering stellar services and provides access to independent industry leader research and educational tools for clients as well.

BMO’s award-winning online trading platform “InvestorLine” makes it easy to invest in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and other investment options. The platform also provides you with research, tips and tools so you can place every trade with confidence.

BMO InvestorLine might very well be the right company to work with in this situation. This is a discount broker platform from the bank of Montreal, and it’s widely coveted all over the internet for being very good, reliable and consistent.

But while the BMO Investorline reviews are very favourable, how does the platform fare off? Let’s find out.

BMO InvestorLine

BMO InvestorLine – Account Options

Before we delve into the actual costs, usability and transactions, it’s important to understand that you will have 2 approaches when it comes to using the account.

  1. You can go with the self-direct option where you make all the investment decisions

  2. Or you can use adviceDirect, a service that will provide you with portfolio management, but the fees are a percentage of account, yet you need $50000 to open such an account

It is also necessary to understand that the needs of each and every investor are different and hence, the platform is to serve the specific needs.

Also, the per trade fees for BMO InvestorLine has a flat fee of $9.95.

BMO InvestorLine

BMO InvestorLine Review 

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.

Moreover, BMO is well known for its low commissions.

Also, the clients do have access to quotes, trading and account information, at all times of the day, through the web or automated telephone trading. On top of it, you have the right tools to help make self directed investment decisions.

BMO Nesbitt Burns Investment Advisor does help you with essential investment advice necessary to invest wisely in different types of products.

Like other online brokerages, BMO InvestorLine offers the ability to trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options.

Account Types Offered by BMO InvestorLine:

  • Cash/Margin accounts

  • Retirement Savings Accounts (RRSPs, LIRAs, LRSPs, RLSP)

  • RESPs

  • TFSAs

  • Retirement Income Accounts

BMO InvestorLine’s Advice Direct & Self Directed Investments 

Two approaches are taken into consideration with BMO InvestorLine: 

  • BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect: It offers portfolio management and charges some percentage of the account. This account can be opened with minimum of $50,000.

  • BMO InvestorLine Self Directed: It is quite similar to that of the regular discount brokers. As an investor, basically, you are on your own and take decisions.

The BMO official website at one glance does not provide much information on features as well as what is to be expected as a potential investor.

However, it does display plenty of information on customer hand-holding, learning and customer service.

Detailed BMO InvestorLine Promotion will be essential to provide crucial and detailed information to all clients.

For investors desiring support, BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect can be termed to be a unique proposition. It is possible to get walkthrough of services provided on walking into any branch.

BMO InvestorLine – Trading and Maintenance Fees 

BMO InvestorLine comes with a $9.95 trading commission. There are some other brokerages that have lower trading fees, such as Interactive Brokers, Virtual Brokers and Investors Edge.

But it all comes down to you to make the right pick and the return on investment can be second to none in the end. It’s a great and powerful opportunity, one that has the potential to pay off extremely well in the end.

For the non-registered accounts, you will have a fee of $25 per quarter if the balance is under $10000. But the fee is removed if you register an account and make two trades within every 6 months.

For RRSP the fee is $100 per year for balances less than $25000 and for RESP the fee is $50 per year for the same situation. These fees are quite high as you might imagine, but on the other hand, the results are pretty good if you stick to using the platform properly.

That being said, if you want to perform the Norbert’s Gambit, then this can be a really good option. The strategy minimizes the cost and it allows you to move money from a currency to the other.

The foreign exchanges with broker costs will bring a surcharge of up to 2.5%. But not all discount brokers will be Norbert Gambit friendly.

Trading rates – BMO InvestorLine 

It is probably a vital criterion for every person concerned. Checking out the transaction cost will ensure satisfaction of investment.

The official website does offer detailed information on transaction fees. The trading fee syncs with the other big bank associated discounted broker. Discounts are not offered to high frequency traders. Rather, they are provided with additional features from 5-Start program.

BMO InvestorLine

Trading with BMO InvestorLine 

We like the fact that BMO InvestorLine offers research from Morningstar, S&P top picks as well as analyst readings. They even offer reports and news for all this information.

You can get eStatements and activity reports for many years back if you want to. And it all comes down to the interface and ease of use provided by the platform.

The dashboard is very easy to navigate, and the fact that you can see graphs with the investment results helps you a lot. The education and tools section will offer you a good way to get started with BMO InvestorLine even if you’re new to it, which is always a great thing to have with you.

Then there’s also the fact that you have 3rd party research on many bonds, REITs, stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and so on. Having 3rd party information is very helpful because you get to see this from many angles and it also delivers a much more comprehensive way to invest at your own pace.

BMO InvestorLine also allows you to hold equities in the TFSA and RRSP accounts, which makes it easy to avoid any currency fluctuations that may appear. And they also bring in a pretty impressive mobile customer experience.

Even if you are very busy, you do have premium mobile services here and you can handle your investments on the go. And there’s also a MyLink system that helps you connect with their customer service so you can figure out the issue and handle it with ease.

InvestorLine might seem complex at first, especially when you see such a stuffed interface. But if you get past that you will notice that it works well for what it does and the fact that every dashboard menu is intuitive helps quite a bit.

The charts are accurate, and the fact that all the information is shared in real time is very good too. Plus, you can have and monitor multiple investments, all of which add up to offer you some rewarding and resounding results.

What is the 5 Star program all about? – BMO InvestorLine

With the 5-Star program of BMO InvestorLine, you can get access to BMO Capital-Market research and reduced fees. For accessing research, there will be required minimum $500K inholdings.

If mutual funds are what you seek, then BMO Monthly Income Fund is a great place to be, where transactions do not invite any fee, unlike most discount brokers.

This is because fees are inbuilt through Management Expense Ratio (MER). Some rules are to be followed pertaining to minimum investment amount. The details given in the minimum is to be gone through.

Monitoring your Investment’s Performance in InvestorLine

The problem for newcomers is that they can easily go in between a negative and positive balance all the time. And the problem here is that you will always try to break even or go slightly above the average.

Thankfully, the additional training on their website is very helpful for this. And the dashboard does offer you comprehensive performance info about the investments you made.

While you don’t have any potential insights into what the future will hold for this, you will like the fact that they let you know how every investment worked, the entry price, current price, target price and so on.

It’s the research that you can do which will help make the investments better, and that’s exactly what makes BMO Investorline so good in the first place for a lot of people.

BMO InvestorLine Account Types 

Depending upon holdings size, maintenance fees may be charged on accounts.

  • Household accounts over $25,000 do not invite fees

  • If less than $25,000:

    • You need to pay annually $100 for other registered accounts like RRSP

    • You need to pay annually $50 for RESP

This will only mean making things hard on your family front especially when dealing with the fees. Even if more products are availed with the bank like credit cards and mortgage, fees cannot be waived.


Should you use the BMO adviceDirect system?

That obviously depends on what type of trading experience you want to do. Most people will want to choose their investments and monitor them without any help. But if you’re an investor that lacks time, their advice and recommendations system does help quite a lot.

You will receive investment recommendations based on the investment profile.

The downside for this service is that you need to pay more as fees, and that’s exactly what matters for newcomers. Most of them will say No because it’s more expensive, but as a beginner you really need all the help you can get. And in this situation you should consider using the adviceDirect system.

It does help pay off a lot and that’s what you need to think about.

BMO InvestorLine’s Pricing and 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.


BMO InvestorLine


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.

BMO InvestorLine’s Usage 

That’s up to you, but BMO Investorline has shown that they do have a very good track record even in the long run.

Granted, it might take a little bit more time to deliver great results when compared to other investment opportunities, but the reality is that the long term investments have paid off a lot. It’s the reason why Investorline has lasted since 2000 and it continues to grow.

The mobile support in particular is extremely helpful and it delivers some impressive features for people that want to invest adequately and at the right time. Is it possible to lose your money here? Of course, and that’s all up to the way you invest.

Smart investments will make quite a lot of money. But you can also lose, which is why they are offering you plenty of research.

BMO InvestorLine Usability

It is considered to be a focus among all devices meant for BMO InvestorLine. The menus present on the left are easy to follow. Similar features are to be provided by all discount brokers.

Also, it becomes essential on your part to understand the words that are used commonly by discount brokers and also know its exact location. It is somewhat like a grocery store and its setup.

Similar content can be found in almost all grocery stores, however, its layout being somewhat different. BMO InvestorLine Review from customers states the following:

  • Ease of use one getting to understand the menus.

  • Ease of use of mobile and websites.

  • Available on numerous devices.

  • Email notifications.

  • iPad equity list difficult to use.

  • Excess information for the newbie

  • Webinar offers walkthrough session to newbie, something not present years ago


It should be easy to scour the interface and the learning experience is to be fun-filled, every time a transaction is made. Knowing the interface will help to avoid mistakes. The remaining account balance is to be displayed.

Email notification is regarded to be an interesting feature that is derived on filling up the order. This wonderful feature does help you to avoid the screen. When buying & selling in registered accounts, it can be easy to dip in the negative. There will be required better alerts to sell/buy stocks.

Performance monitoring

In today’s age, you can expect the discount broker to offer you with better account performance. Here, it is not exactly clear as to what is being offered by BMO InvestorLine.

BMO InvestorLine’s Mobile App Capabilities

Trading is possible by downloading BMO InvestorLine App on the smartphone. The mobile version of this platform is likely to be good. With BML InvestorLine, mobile support can be stated to be a strength. Some contents are much easier to view and also organize on a big screen.

The most appropriate device is to be used to meet the work that is desired to be performed. Banks work continuously to improve its interface and introduce new and small updates periodically to come up with changes as deemed necessary.


BMO InvestorLine


The research of BMO InvestorLine is highly rated over time. There is available good research for ETFs and stocks including plenty of valuable research.

BMO InvestorLine’s Contact Details and Customer Care  

There is an online panel introduced by BMO InvestorLine where opinions and feedback can be shared by users. This company does listen to its customers, which is undoubtedly the initial step taken to provide excellent customer service.

You can call BMO InvestorLine over phone support, which is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.

If internal messaging system is present or not is something unclear. However, with RBC Direct investing, it is used regularly and prefers it to call.

Perhaps you are wondering why you should choose BMO InvestorLine for your retirement investment. If this is what you have in mind, then this detailed BMO InvestorLine review will help you to make a well informed choice.


BMO InvestorLine Trading Platforms 

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.

Using 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.

What account types can be opened on BMO InvestorLine?

Online application is offered to open account with this bank in any numbers. It can include margin investment or cash accounts, self directed RRIFs and RRSPs, LIFs (Life income funds), LRIFs (locked-in retirement accounts), Restricted Life Income Funds (RLSPs) and Restricted Life Income Funds (LRIFs).

You can also download the BMO InvestorLine App on your smartphone to access the different products.

How to open an account?

It is necessary to complete BMO InvestorLine Forms to start an account with this bank. Obtaining an application for accounting opening purpose is easy and simple.

Minimum amount to open an account

$5,000 is the minimum account that will be required to open up an account with BMO InvestorLine. It is possible to have transfer, deposit or combination of both for the initial deposit.

Is the account CIPF protected?

BMO InvestorLine is considered to be CIPF (Canadian Investor Protection Fund) member. Hence, all clients’ accounts are CIPF covered to about $1,000,000. However, client losses which arise due to changing market values are not covered by the CIPF.

You can get a brochure or visit the CIPF to derive more details about the same.

Is it possible to derive Investment advice ?

The self-directed service offered by BMO InvestorLine does not provide any kind of recommendation or advice to the clients. But advice is offered through adviceDirect to act like virtual investment advisor.

The latter can also provide customized investing advice for the portfolio held, which includes ETFs, Mutual Funds and ratings for all stocks available.

Also, your portfolio is monitored continuously by adviceDirect to ensure that you are aligned with personal investing style and do not stray.

Moreover, you are notified instantly with unbiased sell & buy recommendations, if your portfolio’s asset risk, diversification or allocation needs your immediate attention.

Finally, personal guidance and support is offered through dedicated, licensed and specialized team of specialists.

Checking out BMO InvestorLine Contact details and visiting them or calling the professionals at their toll free number will help you to take the right steps towards securing your financial future.

Does opening an InvestorLine Account attract administration fees?

For registered accounts like Spouse/common-law RRSP or RRSP, an annual administration charge of $100 is to be paid for pans with assets with value lower than $25,000. For plans over $25,000, the administration fee gets waived until 31st December of the year of opening the account.

Non-registered users having lower account balance of $15,000 and below will be charged CDN fee of $25 each quarter along with taxes.

Fees get waived for the following:

  • Clients holding RSP (which includes LRIF, LIF, LIRA and RRIF) with BMO InvestorLine. It also includes clients making couple or more of ‘commissionable trades’ within six months.

Free exempt accounts:

  • Accounts open lesser than 180 days

  • Informal trusts

Fee assessment

  • It is during business close on calendar’s last day that fee gets charged when ‘average house-hold account balance’ is lesser than $15,000.

  • Here, the ‘Average house-hold account balance’ is said to refer to account equity average of all accounts in same address as well as excludes those fee exempt accounts.

How to transfer existing account’s to the BMO InvestorLine ?

It is easy to transfer account to BMO InvestorLine from another broker. Complete Authorization to the Transfer Account form and contact the professionals to get the BMO InvestorLine Forms, which is part of the application form. Once done, transfer of cash and designated securities is done from the other broker. Transfers may take about 2 to 6 weeks time to process.

How to send across security certificates?

Recommended method to send securities is by priority post or through courier, taking about 2 to 3 days for delivery. They can also be sent through registered mail, but with longer delivery time, taking about 2 weeks.

BMO InvestorLine fees to transfer an account

The transferring institution charges related fees, which might vary depending upon the institution, investment type held, account size and type, if transfer is partial or full, etc.

There may also apply other fees like commissions, where account gets cash transferred and there is needed liquidation of investments. It will be useful to consult the transferring institution to check out application account transfer fees.


BMO InvestorLine

Time taken to Complete Transfer to InvestorLine 

  • The transfer times might vary depending upon investments getting transferred and the institution.

  • BMO InvestorLine to receive all necessary documentation prior to completion of transfer. Following are the general guidelines given below to know approximate transfer times after receipt of documentation:

  • BMO Nesbitt Burns – 1 to 2 weeks

  • Brokers using Account Transfer Online Notification (ATON) – 2 to 3 weeks mutual fund transfers might take longer time.

  • BMO Montreal Bank: Mutual or cash funds – 2 to 3 weeks.

  • GICs (Guaranteed Investment Certificates) – 4 to 6 weeks.

BMO InvestorLine GIC Rates – 2019 

Name of IssuerCashableTermAnnual
Compound Rate
BANK OF MONTREALAfter 30 Days1 YR1.650%N/A      N/A     N/A
BANK OF MONTREAL MORTGAGE CORPAfter 30 Days1 YR1.650%N/A      N/A     N/A
BMO TRUSTAfter 30 Days1 YR1.650%N/A      N/A     N/A
BANK OF MONTREALAfter 90 Days2 YR1.700%N/A      N/A     N/A
BANK OF MONTREAL MORTGAGE CORPAfter 90 Days2 YR1.700%N/A      N/A     N/A
BMO TRUSTAfter 90 Days2 YR1.700%N/A      N/A     N/A
BANK OF MONTREALAfter 180 Days3 YR1.900%N/A      N/A     N/A
BANK OF MONTREAL MORTGAGE CORPAfter 180 Days3 YR1.900%N/A      N/A     N/A
BMO TRUSTAfter 180 Days3 YR1.900%N/A      N/A     N/A
VANCITYN/A1 YR2.500%N/A      2.400%     2.300%
SHINHAN BANK CANADAN/A1 YR2.480%N/A      2.450%     2.400%
EQUITABLE BANKN/A2 YR2.660%2.660%      2.620%     2.570%
B2B BANKN/A2 YR2.650%2.650%      2.400%     2.275%
LAURENTIAN BANKN/A2 YR2.650%2.650%      2.400%     2.275%
LBC TRUSTN/A2 YR2.650%2.650%      2.400%     2.275%
EQUITABLE BANKN/A3 YR2.710%2.710%      2.670%     2.620%
B2B BANKN/A3 YR2.700%2.700%      2.450%     2.325%
HOMEQUITY BANKN/A3 YR2.700%2.700%      2.660%     2.610%
LAURENTIAN BANKN/A3 YR2.700%2.700%      2.450%     2.325%
LBC TRUSTN/A3 YR2.700%2.700%      2.450%     2.325%
STREET CAPITAL BKN/A3 YR2.700%2.700%      2.650%     2.600%
EQUITABLE BANKN/A4 YR2.790%2.790%      2.750%     2.700%
CDN WESTERN BKN/A4 YR2.770%2.770%      N/A     2.520%
HOMEQUITY BANKN/A5 YR2.880%2.880%      2.840%     2.790%
EQUITABLE BANKN/A5 YR2.870%2.870%      2.830%     2.780%

BMO InvestorLine’s Pros and Cons in 2019 

BMO InvestorLine does a very good job at bringing you powerful investment opportunities.

The interface is clean, you have lots of information, and you can monitor many investments if you want to. At the same time you get a dedicated report for everything you need.

The mobile support is extremely impressive and it does offer the portability you want!

But there are also downsides. There’s a 1-2 day lag when it comes to moving money from the BMO to the Investorline account.

Also, the amount of information can be overwhelming, so you have to take your time and study everything before you invest. Some better alerts for buying and selling stocks would be needed too.

It is possible to derive real-time quotes on InvestorLine?

All BMO InvestorLine clients may get free real-time quotes on their trading screen after signing up to their online accounts. Real times quotes are also provided on the Five Star program through the site.


BMO InvestorLine offers a great online investment brokerage service and there’s enough for everyone here. The BMO MarketPro tools and the 5 Star Program are very good for advanced traders. But there are tools for newcomers too, and those can make a difference.

The hands-off investment approach is also there for you in case you need it and it does provide some pretty good benefits and results for the most part.

The amount you invest is up to you. There’s no minimum requirement, but a smart idea would be to start under $25000 or close to that number to avoid paying the fees on basic accounts. Then you can start adapting and improving along the way.

Moreover, InvestorLine has won many awards throughout the years and it continues to be a very good investment opportunity. If you’re serious about earning good money from investments, then using BMO InvestorLine is a great tool to use. It does take a bit to get used to it, but the outcome can shine!

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2 thoughts on “BMO InvestorLine Review: The Best Online Discount Brokerage (2019)

  • February 25, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Have been banking with BMO for the past 15 years, it’s always been good with them. Good review. Thanks!

    • February 26, 2019 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks Lisa!


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