BMO Investorline Review (2022 Update + Exclusive Promo)

BMO Investorline Review
  • Trading Fees and Pricing
  • Account Options
  • Customer Service
  • Platform Options
  • Overall Banking Convenience
  • Promotional Offers

BMO Investorline Review Summary:

The “Coles Notes” BMO Investorline Review: If you want to stick to a Canadian Bank, BMO Investorline is likely your best bet.

Over the last year BMO has refined their user experience and added 80+ ETFs that they allow investors to trade for free. Those are some pretty strides!

It’s no secret that a lot of Canadians just prefer the familiar comfort and safety of the big bank they’ve always dealt with. They’re willing to pay a few more dollars in fees to keep all of their money under one “financial roof”. If that describes you, then you can feel good in BMO Investorline’s hands, as they are one of our best Canadian online brokers.


  • Best bank-owned broker
  • 80+ Free ETFs
  • Strong app
  • Trust and reputation of 200+ years
  • Great consumer education


  • Higher fees than discount brokerages such as Qtrade or Questrade
  • More suited towards large portfolios

Is BMO Investorline Safe and Trusted?

As one of Canada’s oldest and most trusted companies (founded in 1817) the Bank of Montreal – more commonly known by its BMO initials – or “Bee-Mo” to Canadians – it should be no surprise that the Investorline Self-Directed discount broker is at the forefront of Canadian brokerage options. 

The BMO Investorline 2.0 online trading platform is amongst the most popular of Canada’s online discount brokers, and in our ultimate BMO Investorline Review we’ll dive deep to see if the platform deserves that spot.

BMO InvestorLine – A Peek Inside

BMO Investorline Free ETF Trading – $0 Commissions

In June 2021, BMO became the first of the big bank brokerages to offer a list of ETFs that are completely free to trade (providing that you hold on to them for at least one day).

Qtrade and NBDB are the only other discount brokerages that offer completely free buying AND selling of ETFs, with Questrade offering free ETF purchases.

This could be a real game-changer as far as offering value to discount brokerage customers and may force other big bank brokers into similar cost-cutting moves.  As far as I can see, this is not a temporary move as Silvio Stroescu, Head of Investorline, BMO Financial Group stated yesterday, “These no-commission-fee ETFs have been carefully selected from the largest three Canadian ETF providers, enabling self-directed investors to build well-diversified portfolios, which aligns with our mission to empower and inspire Canadians to invest smart.”

There is no bait and switch when it comes to these ETFs either, as there are some excellent names on the list.  My personal favourites include:

  • VCN – Vanguard FTSE Canada All-Cap Index ETF
  • VFV – Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF US 
  • VIU – Vanguard FTSE Developed All -Cap   ex-North America Index ETF 
  • VAB – CA Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond Index ETF
  • All of the Vanguard and BMO all-in-one-ETFs are available
  • Several ESG index ETFs are available 

It is excellent to see that creating  ultra-diversified, super-simple portfolios just keeps getting cheaper and cheaper for Canadians!

BMO Works Best for Large Portfolios

The BMO InvestorLine 5 Star Program is the bank’s lure for high net-worth individuals and/or active traders. Most of Canada’s discount brokerages have some version of this break for top-tier investors. Here’s a look at the perks that you’ll enjoy at all three levels:

Diamond Star

($5M+ OR 180+ trades per quarter)

Gold Star

($250,000+ OR 15-74 trades per quarter)

Platinum Star

(2M+ OR 75-179 trades per quarter)





Dedicated Exclusive Customer Support

BMO Market Pro Lite (real-time market quotes)

BMO Market Pro (real time Level 2 quotes)

Capital Markets TSX 60 Research

Exclusive IPO Allocation Options

Access to Private Banking Options

What the chart above boils down to is that if you generate substantial trading fees or have a large amount of money invested with BMO, you’ll get a small break on the $9.95 fee, and you’ll get access to some elite trading information streams, plus portfolio analysis, custom watchlist updating and so on.

With over 12 Million worldwide customers and nearly $900 Billion in assets managed, BMO certainly has the resources to compete with the features that any other Canadian brokerage account brings to the table.

BMO Investorline Trading Fees and Prices

When we look at BMO Investorline’s Self-Directed trading and account Fees, it’s important to keep in mind that major Canadian banks such as BMO and their competitors over at RBC, Scotia Bank, CIBC, and TD, have never had the reputation for having the cheapest products on the market. Instead, the general aim of their products is to be cost-competitive, but to prioritize the following:

  • Ultra-safe products backed up by centuries of banking experience.
  • A large customer service and technology team.
  • Elite usability and design.
  • Maximum user customization options.

Note: As of June 2021, BMO has clearly distinguished themselves from the rest of the Big Bank pack as they now offer commission-free ETF transactions!

BMO Investorline Self-Directed Account Fees

While there are no minimum deposits needed to open a BMO InvestorLine Self-Directed account and get started, there are quarterly account fees of $25 if your non-registered account balance is under $15,000 or if your registered accounts are under $25,000. Obviously if you open an account and deposit more than these thresholds you will not owe any account fees at all.

BMO Investorline Self-Directed Trading Fees

When it comes to Investorline’s trading fees, you will pay a flat $9.95 fee per trade.  No matter how many shares you buy or sell, this transparent fee will be applied.  The $9.95 price tag also applies to ETF Trades.

Average Example: If the average Canadian DIY investor makes 20 trades per year and keeps $25,000+ in their RRSP and TFSA account, then they would owe a total of $199 for the year. When the account fees are avoided (such as in this example) the $199 cost of accessing the smooth trading platform, and information resources that Investorline brings to the table is a very solid value proposition.

Note: There are no ECN fees when using BMO IntervorLine

BMO Investorline Self-Directed Options Trading Fees

Personally, options trading isn’t a part of my investment portfolio, but if you’re into the adrenaline rush of shorts, hedging, etc., then Investorline is going to charge $9.95 per trade + $1.25 per contract.  This is the standard rate that see across all of Canada’s large banks.

BMO Investorline Account Types: TFSA, RRSP, Non-Registered

As one of Canada’s top online brokers, BMO Investorline gives you access to essentially every type of investable account in Canada, including:

  • Non-registered accounts (both CAD and USD)
  • Margin Accounts
  • RRSP (both CAD and USD)
  • Spousal RRSPs
  • TFSA (both CAD and USD)
  • RESP
  • RRIF
  • Spousal RRIFs
  • LIF
  • LIRA
  • Corporate Accounts
  • Non-Profit Organization Accounts
  • Estates and Formal Trust Accounts

The bottom line is that while you might pay more in commissions to use BMO InvestorLine Self-Direct, you’re going to absolutely have access to all of the accounts that you could ask for as a Canadian Investor.

BMO Investorline Review: What Is adviceDirect?

We’ll take a deeper dive into the unique service known as AdviceDirect in a separate review, but we thought we’d mention it here briefly. 

Essentially, what BMO has created is a nice little mid-point between a full-service financial advisor model, and a completely hands-off DIY product. If you want the flexibility and responsibility of using a discount brokerage to manage your own investments, but also feel that you could use some help in selecting specific investments, then you may want to look closely at the BMO adviceDirect account.

Automated monitoring of your portfolio combined with unique information flows, exclusive investor education options, and a dedicated team of licensed financial advisors on standby for detailed advice, makes adviceDirect quite valuable to a specific type of investor that may want the benefits of going self-directed, but doesn’t always have time to stay on top of their portfolio.

If you want to embark down the road of active investing, you’ll have to decide if a premium option such as adviceDirect is a good value proposition.  It’s certainly a superior option to investing through traditional mutual fund channels which take far more than the .75% (with a maximum cap) that adviceDirect charges. 

As we head into the latter half of 2021, BMO recently announced a cool new tool as part of their adviceDirect platform. It’s called the Portfolio Health Check, and it gives investors a quick and easy way to measure their portfolio across the four key indicators of risk, security rating, diversification, and asset allocation.  BMO adviceDirect subscribers can generate an instant report that lets them know why they might want to consider certain changes to their portfolio in light of balancing those four key factors. There is no limit on the number of times that clients can generate this report.

Silvio Stroescu, President of BMO InvestorLine and Wealth Management Head of Digital Investing, stated in a press release that, “As the industry continues to experience a surge in adoption of digital investing and record trading volumes, we recognize the importance of supporting clients with digital solutions like our adviceDirect Portfolio Health Check tool more than ever.  This new digital tool is another way we are empowering new and experienced investors to make smart investing decisions. We are committed to scaling our suite of digital tools and services to meet their evolving needs.”

The addition of this portfolio “health check” tool reminded me a lot of the tools that Qtrade has recently made available to their clients.  Feel free to compare BMO Investorline to Qtrade Direct Investing by checking out our in-depth Qtrade Review.

So while you definitely do NOT need to subscribe to adviceDirect in order to use the BMO Investorline brokerage, there is some substantial added value there. They are two separate products that may complement one another, but are separate applications and services.

You can sign up to adviceDirect by clicking the button below. Make sure you use MDJ’s unique promo code ADMDJ to get between $500 and $2500 credited to your account.

BMO InvestorLine Review FAQ

BMO Investorline Review: 2022 Update

BMO Investorline didn’t “sit on their lead” in 2021 when it came to being the most innovative of the big bank Canadian brokerages.

By both improving the everyday navigation of the Investorline platform AND creating an entirely new tool called the Portfolio View, the broker enjoyed successful rollouts throughout the year and took a large step forward.

The MDJ editorial team is especially big fans of the Portfolio View tool which allows clients to look at their entire investment portfolio in a holistic manner on a single screen – and consequently make better overall decisions about asset allocation. 

Improvements to the user experience and the research tab were also noteworthy evolutions of the platform this past year.

“The rapid growth of online investing is driving significant demand for advice and digital features which empower investors to make more informed decisions.

We are focused on delivering forward thinking tools and features to meet the evolving needs of both new and experienced investors. Our most recent enhancements elevate the digital trading experience, allowing our clients to personalize their online experience and invest with more confidence and ease.”

Silvio Stroescu, Head of Investorline

One of the more underrated projects that BMO revealed (in our opinion) is partnering with Preet Banerjee (one of Canada’s best personal finance content creators) to produce some investor education material. I hope to see this continue and encourage other brokers to undertake similar projects.

On January 2022, BMO (along with their big bank “frenemys” at TD, RBC, CIBC, and Scotia) have decided that they will begin charging commission on many of the the third-party mutual funds available on their broker platforms. 

While we’re not big fans of mutual funds in any shape or form here at MDJ, anytime more fees are being added, it’s not exactly something to brag about. 

Who Is the BMO InvestorLine Discount Broker Best for?

Every month we hear from investors who say, “Yeah we know we could save a buck or two at these other places, but it’s just easier to keep all our money stuff under one roof – at an ultra-safe bank that we trust.”

Those people are best served by BMO, and for them, BMO InvestorLine Self-Directed brokerage accounts are the perfect fit.

With the addition of new portfolio analysis tools and fee-free ETF trading, BMO has only increased their lead over the rest of the big bank family of brokerages as we head into 2022.

All that being said, in the interests of providing a transparent BMO InvestorLine review, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that there is a bit of a tradeoff in return for the convenience and safety of the InvestorLine platform. Namely, the cost involved.  

Check out our Qtrade vs Questrade comparison for a look at two of our preferred lower cost options.

At the end of the day BMO InvestorLine is a great representative of Canadian banks in general. It’s a bit pricey, but you’re guaranteed a super safe and innovative platform with excellent user experience on any device.  

Plus – you can’t beat the cash back promotion that they have going on right now! Just click below and use the promo code MDJCASH to get between $100 and $2,000 cash back! (Depending on your deposit amount.)


FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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9 months ago

Being a BMO investorline client I am generally pleased. Their platforms are pretty good but could some additional data such as what is your Div rate on shares you have held for years.
Biggest issue is they don’t offer a drip on all Cad shares which is a pain. Also they do not drip any US equity. (Synthetic DRIP at BMO)

4 years ago

I have tried quite a number of different vendors over the years, ameritrade, e-trade, price waterhouse, option express, questrade to name a few, finally settle down with InvestorLine. Here are my 2 cents.
Individual brokers tends to have lower commissions than the bank owned ones, however, they charge ecn fees. No big deal if you only buying 100 shares. But if you are like me, buying in the lot of 2000-5000 shares or more, the advertised $4.95 commission (questrade) will quickly turn into $20+, substantially higher than any bank.
The second reason I switched to InvestorLine was that I have grown my portfolio to 500,000 since, I can now access the market Pro feature which basically live data. You will need to be a frequent trader or pay a substantial fee with companies like questrade.
That being said, you definitely should stay with the individual brokers if you have a small portfolio, to avoid account fees.
As far as customer service, there are always bad apples regardless companies. I’m not happy with InvestorLine, so is questrade, and I don’t think there is much difference between all these brokers. The key is to set up everything properly so you can minimize the chance of calling for support. After all, these online brokers are all for diy.

4 years ago

Stay away from Investorline. Make sure you read the contract very carefully. They change terms without notifying you and their customer service is non-existent. You can literally be on hold for hours before speaking to someone and in this day and age they can’t even give you an indication of how the long the wait will be? Honestly, check out TD. Talk to people – they will tell you the same thing. BMO is not customer focused and does not value your business- look elsewhere

4 years ago

I use both BMO Investorline and RBC Direct. While they both have their strengths and weaknesses, and while BMO does have some good research tools, BMO is simply terrible with customer service and with outside resources such as morningstar giving just as good analysis as what’s offered in the platform, I would say this should be a defining red flag issue.

Jess @ Best Credit Cards Canada
6 years ago

My husband and I both use Questrade. And while I find it a huge pain to set up my various accounts, now that they are set and we are trading, we’re very happy with it. I think the major perk is the low cost! Interesting to hear about one of the Top 5’s brokerage units.

The Follower
6 years ago

Just to clarify, there is likely no fee for the TFSA account as you were questioning. Every brokerage I’ve seen charges an annual fee only for RRSP accounts, usually if the balance is under $25,000.

6 years ago

Hi Frugal trader,

Quick question, what are your major reasons why you want to close your interactive broker account? I have read your interactive broker 2015 update posting, by the way. I am asking that as I am thinking of opening interactive broker account to take advantage of their inexpensive margin. If that’s not too attractive and if there are some hassles that I should know before pull the trigger, please let me know. Thanks! Just wanted to let you know that I am a big fan of you and your blog. Keep up the great work!


6 years ago
Reply to  FT

Thanks for the quick response.
Was there any inconvenience of using IB in terms of transferring funds?
What would be your feedback on their margin account or managing accounts in general?



6 years ago
Reply to  FT

Thanks so much FrugalTrader. One thing that I really like is their low margin rate and I hope to leave the account open to take advantage in case of major correction in the future (if any…). I may just stick to my TD direct investing account for now to keep my investing activities simple just as you said :) Thanks again!


Gail Bebee
6 years ago

Another feature I like, BMO Investorline (unlike RBC Direct Investing) offers mutual funds from fund companies with low fees and decent performance such as Mawer, Leith Wheeler and Steadyhand. If you want no effort investing and good returns, you can own what I think is the best all-in-one mutual fund in Canada – the Mawer Balanced Fund.

Gail Bebee
6 years ago
Reply to  FT

Hi Frugal Trader,
In my personal finance course, I use the Tangerine Funds as examples of cheap all-in-one funds with different risk levels. I also mention the Mawer Fund which I will take any day over Tangerine based on lower MER 0.96 vs.1.07% and better performance: Mawer 5 yr return to Aug 25, is 12.17%, Tangerine Balanced is 8.51%. The limitation: Mawer requires a $5,000 minimum investment which can be a bit high for those just getting started.

Peter Ally
6 years ago

I switched all my accounts with BMO Investorline (Margin, RSP, LIF and TFSA) about 2 years ago. I was please with their service and research material, but I was “very” pleased when they included a beautiful real-time platform, called BMO Market Pro. That tool is incredible! You can see all your accounts in one place, trade any stocks, ETFs, options of forex instruments.

But above all, for technical analysts, the charting platform is awesome.

I’m not payed by BMO, I’m just a retired guy trying to become the next guy in the milliondollarjourney saga :-)

6 years ago
Reply to  FT

To answer yr question to Peter Ally, yes, u have to be a Gold account holder to have access to the BMO market Pro. Also you can group all your individual accounts under one umbrella so that those under minimum amount can have their fees waved.