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BMO SmartFolio Review

BMO SmartFolio is an innovative and user-friendly investment platform offered by the Bank of Montreal (BMO) that utilizes cutting-edge technology to provide investors with a hassle-free and low-cost way to invest in the market. It is a robo-advisor service that employs sophisticated algorithms and data analysis to design and manage customized portfolios for clients, making investing easy, accessible, and affordable.

The platform is designed to cater to a wide range of investors, from beginners with little to no investment experience to seasoned investors looking for a low-cost investment solution. BMO SmartFolio offers a diversified portfolio of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and uses a passive investment approach to minimize risk and maximize returns. The platform also provides clients with regular performance updates and offers easy-to-use tools to help them monitor their investments.

One of the most significant advantages of BMO SmartFolio is its low fees, which are significantly lower than traditional investment management fees. This is because the platform uses algorithms to manage portfolios, reducing the need for human intervention and minimizing costs. As a result, investors can benefit from lower fees, which can translate into higher returns over the long run.

Another advantage of BMO SmartFolio is its user-friendly interface, which allows investors to open an account, select a portfolio, and start investing within minutes. The platform offers a streamlined onboarding process, making it easy for users to get started with their investments.

Overall, BMO SmartFolio is an excellent investment platform for investors looking for an affordable and hassle-free way to invest in the market. With its low fees, user-friendly interface, and sophisticated algorithms, the platform offers a compelling value proposition for investors of all levels of experience.

What Is BMO SmartFolio?

BMO SmartFolio is an online investment platform provided by the Bank of Montreal (BMO) that offers an easy and low-cost way to invest in the market. It uses a robo-advisor service to develop and manage customized portfolios for clients, making investing simple, accessible, and affordable.

The platform caters to a wide range of investors, from beginners with little investment experience to seasoned investors looking for a low-cost investment solution. BMO SmartFolio provides clients with a diversified portfolio of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and uses a passive investment approach to minimize risk and maximize returns. The platform also provides regular performance updates and user-friendly tools to help clients monitor their investments.

One of the most significant advantages of BMO SmartFolio is its low fees. The platform uses sophisticated algorithms to manage portfolios, reducing the need for human intervention and lowering costs. As a result, investors can benefit from lower fees, which can translate into higher returns over time.

BMO SmartFolio is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it simple for users to get started with their investments. Investors can open an account, select a portfolio, and begin investing within minutes. The platform offers a streamlined onboarding process, allowing users to complete their registration and account setup online.

How Does SmartFolio Decide On Your Portfolio?

I recently tried out BMO SmartFolio, and I must say I’m impressed with this investment platform. As someone who is not well-versed in investing, I found the platform to be user-friendly and easy to navigate.

The robo-advisor service utilizes advanced algorithms to develop customized portfolios for customers, making investment accessible, convenient, and affordable. I appreciate the platform’s use of a passive investment approach to minimize risk while maximizing returns, and I was able to benefit from regular performance updates and user-friendly tools to help me monitor my investments.

One of the most significant advantages of BMO SmartFolio is its low fees. Unlike traditional investment management fees, the platform uses algorithms to manage portfolios, reducing the need for human intervention and lowering costs. This resulted in lower fees, which ultimately led to higher returns for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to begin investing. Within minutes, I was able to create an account, select a portfolio, and start investing. The platform’s streamlined onboarding process made it simple for me to register and set up my account online.

Overall, I would recommend BMO SmartFolio to anyone seeking a cost-effective and user-friendly method of investing in the market. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced investor, this platform offers a compelling value proposition. With its low fees, advanced algorithms, and straightforward interface, BMO SmartFolio is definitely worth trying out.

What Are The Account Types In The BMO SmartFolio?

Now that we know what BMO SmartFolio is, let’s take a look at the different account types offered and what it offers.

There are four account types supported in Smartfolio:

I’ll not be talking in detail about the TFSA or RSSP in this article.

I have covered these topics extensively in this blog. Please search for the terms and you will find the related articles.

BMO SmartFolio

BMO SmartFolio TFSA Account

Here’s the list of features and benefits of the BMO SmartFolio TFSA Account

1. Based on your risk tolerance and investment objective, you’re matched with an ETF Portfolio by SmartFolio.

2. Your SmartFolio’s Investment portfolio is completely managed by a professional team at BMO, so be rest assured of legitimate and clean transactions by people who know what they do.

3. Also, you will also be able to access your account balance, holdings and performance round the clock from any device to track against your financial goals

4. Well, the best part is – you can also set up recurring contributions to your TFSA accounts, say, for example, you can set a $100 bi-weekly. auto-withdrawal. SmartFolio will take care of where to allocate the $100 (I mean under which ETF portfolio). Now that’s what I call – set it and forget it. It is a one-time thing, once you enable the auto-deposit, the system takes care of the rest.

BMO SmartFolio RRSP, RESP, and RRIF Account

When you open a new SmartFolio RRIF account, you’re matched with a portfolio based on your needs, likely Capital Preservation or Income, depending on your risk tolerance.

Furthermore, your money is then invested in a variety of BMO ETFs, and a team of Nesbitt Burns and BMO Global Asset Management portfolio managers monitor and adjust your holdings to take advantage of market fluctuations.

BMO’s SmartFolio RRSP and RESP Investments are pretty much the same as Investing in your TFSA’s (which we discussed in the previous segment)

Your money is invested in the BMO’s SmartFolio RRSP, RESP Accounts and managed by professionals.

SmartFolio can be the perfect choice for your RRIF so that you can enjoy your retirement while financial experts look after your portfolio.

Here are a few more ways SmartFolio works well with an RRIF account:

1. Low management fees 

As we all know, ETF portfolios typically have lower management fees and expenses than those associated with traditional investing. Depending on your investment account size, your advisory fees range from 0.4 to 0.7%.

Simply put, SmartFolio fees are a percentage rather than a flat fee, your fees will continually decrease as you draw from your RRIF, leaving you more to achieve your dreams and enjoy a peaceful retirement.

2. Diversification 

A well-diversified portfolio can help preserve your assets with lower risk, helping ensure they last through your retirement, while still taking advantage of overall market growth.

ETFs are already made up of a mix of stocks, bonds, or other investments, which allows you to have a diversified portfolio at a lower cost than buying each investment individually.

As you withdraw from your RRIF, your portfolio will be automatically rebalanced, to keep your account on track.

3. Professional Investing 

SmartFolio portfolios are actively managed by a team of investment experts who are committed to making sure your portfolio stays balanced and on track.

All this at a lower fee than what you’d pay with a traditional investing service.

What Are The Benefits Of Investing In SmartFolio ETFs?

1. Liquidity – buying and selling during the trading hours of the stock exchange.

2. Diversification – potentially lower risk than individual securities.

3. Exposure – to a portfolio of stocks or bonds.

4. Portfolio transparency – on a daily basis.

5. Cost-efficiency – low management fees.

6. Tax efficiency – with potential low capital gains distributions.

BMO SmartFolio Account Types

All this while we have been talking about the SmartFolio ETF Portfolios. In this section let’s look at the different ETF portfolios under the BMO SmartFolio and also look at the returns it generated since its Inception.

BMO SmartFolio has Five types of ETF Portfolios

1. Capital Preservation

2. Income

3. Balanced

4. Long-Term Growth

5. Equity Growth

Now, let us look at each one in detail.

1. Capital Preservation

The Capital Preservation Portfolio’s objective is to provide the safety of capital while generating income (interest, dividends, and capital gains) with some exposure to investments that have the potential for better returns.

While at the same time, trying to minimize the effects of inflation by investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest primarily in Canadian and foreign fixed-income securities, and to a lesser extent, Canadian equity securities.

Target Asset Allocation

Equity – 10%
Fixed Income – 90%

Actual Asset Allocation

Fixed income: your money is more stable but with low to moderate gains

1. Corporate Bonds 40%

2. Government Bonds 43%

Equity: your money is more volatile but with the greatest potential for growth

1. Canadian Equity 7%

2. U.S. Equity 5%

3. International Equity 5%

4. Emerging Market Equity 0%

2. Income

The Income Portfolio’s objective is to provide some long-term capital growth by investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest primarily in Canadian and foreign fixed income products, and to a lesser extent, exposure to Canadian and foreign equity securities.

Target Asset Allocation

Equities 30%

Fixed Income 70%

Actual Asset Allocation

Fixed income: your money is more stable but with low to moderate gains

1. Corporate Bonds 32%

2. Government Bonds 34%

Equity: your money is more volatile but with the greatest potential for growth

1. Canadian Equity 8%

2. U.S. Equity 19%

3. International Equity 7%

4. Emerging Market Equity 0%

BMO SmartFolio 3. Balanced Portfolio

The Balanced Portfolio’s objective is to strike a balance between the safety of principal and appreciation.

Well, This Portfolio also seeks to provide long-term capital growth with some income (interest, dividends, and capital gains) by investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest primarily in Canadian and foreign equity securities and Canadian and foreign fixed-income securities.

Target Asset Allocation

Equities 50%

Fixed Income 50%

Actual Asset Allocation

Fixed income: your money is more stable but with low to moderate gains

1. Corporate Bonds 27%

2. Government Bonds 17%

Equity: your money is more volatile but with the greatest potential for growth

1. Canadian Equity 12%

2. U.S. Equity 30%

3. International Equity 10%

4. Emerging Market Equity 5%

4. Long-Term Growth Portfolio

The Long Term Growth Portfolio’s objective is to maximize returns over time by investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest primarily in Canadian and foreign equity securities and to a lesser extent some exposure to Canadian and foreign fixed-income securities.

Target Asset Allocation

Equities 70%

Fixed Income 30%

Actual Asset Allocation

Fixed income: your money is more stable but with low to moderate gains

1. Corporate Bonds 13%

2. Government Bonds 10%

Equity: your money is more volatile but with the greatest potential for growth

1. Canadian Equity 15%

2. U.S. Equity 39%

3. International Equity 15%

4. Emerging Market Equity 7%

5. Equity Growth Portfolio

The Equity Growth Portfolio’s objective is to maximize returns over the long term by investing primarily in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in Canadian and foreign equity securities.

Moreover, Since the need for income (interest, dividends and capital gains) is low, the Portfolio’s exposure to ETFs that invest in income-producing investments such as Canadian and foreign fixed income will be minimal.

Target Asset Allocation

Equities 90%

Fixed Income 10%

Actual Asset Allocation

Fixed income: your money is more stable but with low to moderate gains

1. Corporate Bonds 0%

2. Government Bonds 2%

Equity: your money is more volatile but with the greatest potential for growth

1. Canadian Equity 21%

2. U.S. Equity 47%

3. International Equity 20%

4. Emerging Market Equity 10%

BMO SmartFolio Fees

Till now, we have seen what SmartFolio Is, what it does, and the different types of portfolios. Now, that we have a good understanding of what SmartFolio is, let’s now look at the fees associated.

First of all, SmartFolio account fees are calculated as a percentage based on how much money you’ve invested.

An account fee covers professional portfolio management (experts monitoring and rebalancing your investments!) and support from a team of investment advisors should you have any questions or need any help.

A look at the fee schedule

Here’s what you can expect the fees to be based on the amount you have Invested.

Asset value             Annual Rate

First $100,000             0.70%
Next $150,000            0.60%
Next $250,000            0.50%
Above $500,000         0.40%

For Example, if David invests $250,000, his total yearly fee would be $1,600.

Here’s the breakdown of how he’s charged:

1. First $100,000 at 0.7% = $700

2. Next $150,000 at 0.6% = $900

SmartFolio accounts are made up of ETF portfolios, and all ETFs have management fees and expenses that are calculated as Management Expense Ratio (MER) in addition to the advisory fee.

Also, the MER fees are included within the pricing of the ETFs themselves and will not appear as an expense item on your account statement. The MER of the ETFs held within your portfolio will likely be a weighted average of 0.20% to 0.35% of the value of your SmartFolio account.

Transaction Fees At BMO SmartFolio

Below is the list of the transaction fees charged by SmartFolio for services listed:

1. Transfer-out of a Non-Registered or Registered Account (Full or partial withdrawal) – $135 per account

2. Partial withdrawal of a Registered Account – (excluding TFSA or RRIF accounts) – $25 per request

3. Full De-registration of a Registered Account (excluding TFSA and RRIF accounts) $100 per account

4. Cheque requests $10 per request

5. Paper statement requests: $5 per statement

How To Open A BMO SmartFolio Account?

So you are convinced to open a BMO SmartFolio Account? Great choice I must say.

To Open A BMO SmartFolio account online, you will have to complete a series of questions to help them identify your investment objectives.

If you have any questions or concerns you can call their investment professionals at 1-844-895-3721, email them at [email protected] or open a chat instantly on the site www.bmo.com/smartfolio.

What Account Types Are Available Under SmartFolio? 

BMO SmartFolio currently provides the following types of accounts: (Complete List)

1. Investment Accounts

2. Joint Investment Accounts

3. Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

4. Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP)

5. Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP)

6. Spousal Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

7. Spousal Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP)

8. Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

Future account types will also include:

1. Locked-in Retirement Accounts (LIRA)

2. Corporate/Non-Personal

What Is The Minimum SmartFolio Account Size?

The minimum account size per BMO SmartFolio account is $1000.

What options do I have to fund my account?

SmartFolio will accept the following four funding methods:

1. Cheque made payable to BMO Nesbitt Burns with your SmartFolio account number noted on the cheque.

2. As A Bill Payment from a BMO Bank account (CAD only) – Expect a transfer time of 1-2 business days

3. Bill Payment from a non-BMO Canadian financial institution – Expect transfer time of 3-5 business days

4. Also, In cash transfer from another investment account

How To Make Monthly SmartFolio Contributions?

Yes, you can easily set up pre-authorized contributions from your BMO Bank account within the BMO SmartFolio platform.

Alternatively, you can also fill out a Pre-Authorized Contribution form and set up a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly contribution from any Canadian Financial Institution.

Who Will Manage My SmartFolio Portfolio?

Your assets will be held in a brokerage account in your name with BMO Nesbitt Burns – a member of BMO Financial Group.

With that said, BMO Nesbitt Burns is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) & the Canada Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). BMO Financial Group was established in 1817 and serves more than 12 million personal, commercial, corporate, and institutional customers in North America and internationally.

How Often Will SmartFolio Rebalance My Portfolio?

Your portfolio is monitored on a daily basis by BMO’s expert portfolio managers, to ensure that it is still within its target allocations.

Simply put, in case, if the Model Portfolio’s investment value goes down by 10 percent or above the median weight percentage indicated, the Model Portfolio’s positions and your SmartFolio Account will be rebalanced to percentages that fall within the range.

How Can I Track My BMO SmartFolio Investment Performance?

As a client of BMO SmartFolio, you will have a secure User ID with which you will be able to log into your account and see your performance.

Also, you will be able to track the performance of each SmartFolio account which will be shown as an increase or decrease in value in dollars, as a percentage of dollars invested, and as well on a chart showing the growth in the portfolio over time.

You will also be provided with online statements that you can use to review your account balances month to month as well as any transactions that occurred in that period.

How Will SmartFolio Protect My Assets?

Your assets will be held in an account in your own name within BMO Nesbitt Burns. They will also not be used as collateral for loans.

In addition, you will also benefit from the Canada Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) which will ensure clients up to $1 Million CAD in the event that BMO Nesbitt Burns becomes insolvent.

Final Words

BMO SmartFolio is a great investment platform especially if you are new to the investment world and ETFs. Also, you get help from professionals who know the financial world and invest your money in the right portfolios. All this for a minimal fee.

Also, comparing the SmartFolio fees with the rest of the market products, I do find it to be reasonably priced, especially considering all the features and benefits it offers.

With that said, almost every account type is offered here, including tax accounts such as TFSA, RRSP, and RESP.

And, don’t forget the portfolio types – 5 types are offered here. It pretty much covers every risk tolerance (based on your age and income levels) and investment goals you may have. For example, buying a home in the next 2 years, choose the right balance in the portfolio.

Pros outweigh the cons and also you have excellent support available 24/7 for any concerns or technical glitches. BMO is a trusted brand in the financial world, so rest assured your hard-earned money and investments.

Please share, comment, and let me know your thoughts!

5 thoughts on “BMO SmartFolio Review”

  1. I’m looking into purchasing some ETF’s so I definitely think I’ll give BMO SmartFolio a go. I didn’t know you could do Pre-Authorized Contributions either so I’ll look more into that

    Reply
  2. Yes, all the portfolio mix options and performance on those options might be good. However, first you have to get onto the platform.

    My experience was a significantly bad one and as such I ended up pulling my money and cancelling the account before I even started.

    1) The BMO SmartFolio help line gets redirected over to the InvestorLine early in the morning. Therefore, you get support staff confused to why you are calling them. Once, they even tried to re-direct me to SmartFolio and I was put back into the InvestorLine queue.

    2) I found the proof of self identification the deal breaker. Their portal seems to have corrupted my uploads twice. I then emailed them in, to be told I needed a 3rd image. I sat on the phone with support staff who verified my 3rd image was good. I also received an email that it had been forwarded for processing. 5 business days later, I called in (they did not call or alert me) to be told my address on the image was cut off. This was simply not the case of the image I provided them.

    3) Their support staff is mixed (when you do get to them). One was pretty good and tried to help. The other, just simply did not care and carried an attitude of “So, you because of your issues you want to exit BMO SmartFolio? Yeah whatever.”

    The above points did not give me any confidence whatsoever that my money would be effectively managed. It was not going to be chump change either.

    Reply

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