BMO adviceDirect Review: Investing Advice for a Low Fee

BMO adviceDirect Review
  • Fees and trading costs
  • Account Options
  • Financial advice availability
  • Research ability
  • Investor tools and education
  • Introductory Promotional Offer

BMO adviceDirect Review Summary:

BMO adviceDirect is a unique blend of options and support that targets a sizable investing niche: Canadians that want to get away from underperforming advisors, and mutual funds (that are charging them crazy-high MERs) – but can’t dedicate 10+ hours per day to actively trading their investments. Read the rest of our adviceDirect review to see if the benefits are worth the costs for your personal situation.

If you click the button below and use our promo code: ADMDJ you will be credited between $500 and $2,500 dollars for opening a BMO adviceDirect account and depositing $10,000+ in order to try it out. If you add up the value of the free trades, plus the cash back on this promo offer code, you are essentially getting your first year of adviceDirect for free!

The jump from traditional investing using mutual fund + full service advisor model, to all-on-your-own DIY investing using a discount broker can be a big jump for a lot of Canadians. Our BMO adviceDirect Review breaks down if this unique service is right for you. The idea is to allow investors to get advice directly, but then act on that advice in a way that you see fit – and in a way that cuts out 50%+ of the cost a mutual fund would charge. 

AdviceDirect shouldn’t be confused with the standalone BMO InvestorLine Self-Directed product. To clarify, BMO InvestorLine Self-Directed is a discount brokerage – no direct advice asked for or needed. You can have both an adviceDirect account and a BMO InvestorLine account, but the two have different value propositions and different fee structures.

What is BMO adviceDirect?

BMO adviceDirect seeks to combine personalized advice and support of licensed investment advisors, with the freedom of using your own DIY investing account to choose your own investments.

It’s a one-of-a-kind service that isn’t a robo advisor and isn’t a simple brokerage platform.  If the idea of choosing your own investments appeals to you, and you’re thinking that active investing is the right path for you – but, you’re a bit worried that you don’t have enough time to stay on top of your portfolio (or simply want someone with experience to bounce ideas off of) then you fall right square in adviceDirect’s target market.

If you’re simply looking to cut costs to the absolute bone and keep life simple with a passively indexed ETF strategy, then it’s probably not worth paying for direct advice from BMO (or anyone else).  If on the other hand you want to try your hand with active investing, then adviceDirect might be worth the relatively cheap price tag (relative to mutual fund or full-service advisor fees in Canada).

When you sign on with adviceDirect, an advisor will speak with you to make sure that you understand how your investment goals, trading experience, financial situation, risk tolerance, and time horizon, should all play into the investment portfolio that you’re about to create.  These advisors will be available to update your strategy every step of the way, should you want their thoughts and advice.

BMO adviceDirect Fees and Overall Cost

Of course, this level of expert advice doesn’t come free.  There are basically three tiers of pricing for BMO’s direct advice service, but the good news is that included in these fees, are your probable trading costs.

Investment SizeAnnual Fee
$50,000-$100,0000.75% of Your Portfolio (like an MER)
$100,000-$500,0000.75% of Your Portfolio (like an MER)
$500,000+Capped at $3,750 Max

To fully understand the overall value proposition of adviceDirect, we have to take into consideration the trading costs that are shaved off by using the platform.  Here’s a quick look at the number of “free” trades included at each asset level.

Size of Your PortfolioNumber of Trades Included Yearly
Less Than $50,00015

Basically, when it comes to adviceDirect fees, the idea is to take a .75% fee – which is similar to the MER that you’d see on a mutual fund – but there has to be a minimum to make it worth it to set up the logistics.  When you consider the price that you’d be paying for trades at a discount brokerage anyway, the overall costs are much more manageable.

What Am I Paying for with adviceDirect?

Here’s what you get wrapped up in the unique DIY+++ package that is adviceDirect.

1) The adviceDirect platform delivers personalized advice, backed by access to an advisor, at roughly between 30-50% of what you would typically pay to a traditional advisor.

2) Free trades on the adviceDirect platform.

3) Industry-leading investor education materials.

4) Access to third party investment research such as MorningStar and MarketGrader.

5) The use of top-level tools and real-time stock quotes.

6) The option to set automated email notifications when important events occur such as rating changes to assets in your portfolio, or an equity order being filled.

BMO adviceDirect Types of Accounts

As you might expect from an offering at one of Canada’s largest and most trusted financial companies, the full suite of account types are open to you when using adviceDirect, including:

  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)
  • Spousal RRSPs
  • Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)
  • Non-Registered Accounts
  • Locked-In Retirement Accounts (LIRAs)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Retirement Income Account (RRIF)
  • Spousal RRIF
  • Corporate Accounts

BMO adviceDirect Dashboard: Sneak Peak

As you can see from the pictures below, the BMO adviceDirect (as well as their BMO InvestorLine dashboard) user experience is simple and intuitive.  Monitoring your holdings and selecting new investments to add, or new research to view, is quick and easy.

BMO adviceDirect FAQ

Is BMO adviceDirect Safe?

Like all BMO trading platforms, the money that you invest through adviceDirect will be covered by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).  BMO also uses the latest in cyber security features.  However, it’s important to note that as with any investment platform, the inherent risk of the underlying investments cannot be factored into a discussion about platform safety.  All that to say that adviceDirect accounts are as safe as any financial account in Canada.

Can I open an adviceDirect TFSA, RRSP, and RESP?

Yes – just click here to pick your account and get started!

Is there an adviceDirect minimum to open an account? 

Yes, $50,000 is the minimum.

Is the adviceDirect fee tax deductible?

Possibly – but for non-registered accounts only.  Please ask your tax professional for more details.

If I go over my free trade amount that I get with adviceDirect, how much do I pay per trade?

Almost always $7.95.  There are a few exceptions such as accounts in a different currency, etc.

Who is BMO adviceDirect Best For?

As we said at the top of our BMO adviceDirect review, this service is really aimed at investors who don’t want the most simple, slimmed down basic brokerage account experience, and it isn’t for the simple index investor either (who would be better served with a robo advisor). 

BMO adviceDirect represents a unique value proposition for people who want the freedom of DIY low-cost investing, but are willing to pay a reasonable amount for elite research capability, top-tier tools, and ongoing licensed advice. I honestly don’t think the value proposition is a solid one if you have under $100,000 in investments in your portfolio.

But if you can take advantage of the current promotion, and invest $100,000+ in order to snag the cash back (plus the included trades), then I think it’s a no-lose situation to try the service for a year. The group that BMO is clearly targeting most with this service is the $500,000+ crowd. 

If you had that much money invested with a typical equity mutual fund portfolio in Canada, you’d be paying roughly $15,000 per year in fees in order to access a sub-standard investment option (mutual funds generally underperform their benchmark) and the same financial advice that you’re getting $3,750 with BMO adviceDirect. Obviously the higher you go over at that $500,000 bar, the more value you’re getting with adviceDirect and BMO Wealth Management.

Click the button below and use our exclusive BMO adviceDirect promo code : ADMDJ to get free money when creating your account!

Kyle Prevost

Kyle Prevost is Canada's Top Personal Finance Teacher and an author/speaker/advisor when he is not in his classroom. His writing has been featured across Canada’s most-read publications. When he isn’t nerding out about P/E ratios or MERs, you can find Kyle on a basketball court or in a boxing ring trying to recapture something he isn’t sure that he had in the first place.
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