BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect Preview – DIY Investing support for Free

BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect Preview – DIY Investing support for Free

As a hybrid investor, I tend to know a thing or two about mixing and matching investing styles.

If you haven’t already heard about BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect, including the new BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect Preview, you will in today’s post. I believe these solutions are a great trend in Canada that combines the tools and support needed for the growth of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) investing.

As part of my ongoing partnership with BMO, I break down what adviceDirect is and more importantly how valuable the features adviceDirect Preview has are for any investor.

DIY investing is only getting bigger, that’s better

According to a recent article I read, DIY investing is only getting bigger – so major discount brokerages like BMO InvestorLine might as well make it better.

Millennials, more so than any other demographic, are not even working with any financial advisor.

According to a report from global comparison site, nearly one in three Canadian millennials (33.7 per cent), say they plan to quit working with their financial adviser or are seriously considering it. Generation Z follows close behind, with 31% thinking of moving on from their advisers in favour of DIY investing.

Fees paid to an advisor seem to be part of the reason for a switch to DIY investing, but I believe there is far more to it – including having more control over your money invested. The plethora of low-cost, diversified ETFs can make investing very easy in fact, products that did not exist to the masses just a few short decades ago.

Lost fees forever to an adviser, a desire to be on top of the money more often, combined with the fact that many advisors seem to barely communicate with clients – and that’s a perfect storm in my opinion for the growth of DIY investing.

BMO adviceDirect DIY investing

Source: Ontario Securities Commission’s Investor Advisory Panel – Survey

Whether the pandemic was the catalyst we expected or not for DIY investing, the numbers simply tell the tale.

Last year, Canadians opened over 2.3 million DIY investor accounts, which was almost three times the number from 2019. Clearly, Canadians are increasingly wanting to manage their money. However, as a DIY investor I believe it is important to understand that DIY investing can be fraught with mistakes. And when it comes to money management, financial mistakes can be very costly.

Mistakes some DIY investors make

As with most things DIY, you simply don’t know what you don’t know. We all have biases when it comes to investing and those biases can be exponentially exposed for the worst if you’re not careful. Recency bias, too much adoration for any one stock; too much sector concentration, lack of portfolio diversification, poor risk management tactics and much more lead the way. Add these potential challenges to the menu of over 10,000 mutual funds and over 1,000 ETFs available in Canada and you have a buffet of potential investing issues.

Most DIY investors know by now that diversification, via low-cost ETFs, is one way to increase exposure to different sectors and geographical areas, without incurring more investing risk per se. Even for the most simplistic portfolios though, the challenge then becomes over time how to manage the growth of the portfolio – ensuring you’re not missing out on more holistic elements of your financial plan aligned to your needs and goals.

As investors’ situations become more complex (and their portfolios grow), I believe investors need to consider more into their financial planning sphere – marriage, mortgages, kids’ education, retirement and any estate planning. Doing any one of these things incorrectly can be very costly. With adviceDirect, you have some assurance designed in.

With adviceDirect Preview, the news is even better: the tool is FREE for any investor!

What is adviceDirect?

adviceDirect is a comprehensive investing platform that combines DIY investing with personalized recommendations and advisor support when you need it– it is a unique solution in my opinion in that you can receive support throughout your DIY investing journey while still calling all the investment shots. Your support includes: portfolio monitoring, buy and sell recommendations, and access to an adviceDirect advisor for further information.

You can learn more about BMO’s adviceDirect offering here.

Of note, when it comes to adviceDirect, you should know BMO has recently cut any costs in a major way!

  • Minimum Investment – dropped from $50,000 to just $10,000
  • Minimum annual fee of $750 is gone!
  • New pricing model: 0.75% of billable assets up to the annual maximum of $3,750 – great for investors just starting out, and
  • For less than $50,000 in assets, the client’s fees will include 15 trades (as opposed to 30 or more for higher asset levels).

Check out BMO’s adviceDirect latest low-cost offers and perks here.

What is adviceDirect Preview?

Just as the name sounds, it is a preview of adviceDirect. And it’s free.

Yup, free.

Not just free for BMO clients, I mean FREE for all investors. Here is a link now and I’ll put a reminder in later.

With adviceDirect Preview, you can explore some of BMO adviceDirect’s toolkit on your time, on demand, whenever you want it. For example, you can find new investment opportunities by learning about company stock profiles. You can keep tabs on your favourite dividend paying stocks like I do via the watchlist.

(A reminder you can view some of my favourite stocks on my dedicated Dividends page here.)

In more detail, this is what the free adviceDirect Preview platform can offer Canadians:

  1. Want Trade or Investing Ideas? You got it. BMO uses third-party data to present stocks in five categories based on different investing styles according to the highest “Buy” ratings at the time. Each category lists up to 10 stocks (with adviceDirect you’d have access to 20+ categories with up to 100 stocks per idea)
  2. Want to create a Watchlist? You got it. Monitor the outlook of potential holdings with daily ratings powered by MarketGrader, including reports that break down the research behind the rating. Add up to 10 securities to your watchlist (with adviceDirect you can add up to 100)
  3. Want a quick Portfolio Health Check? You got that too. See how well your holdings align with your investor profile, based on four key indicators, to stay on track and reach your investing goals.

The great thing about adviceDirect Preview is the platform allows any investor, even people who aren’t investing with BMO yet or at all, to access features of the -platform they provide their own DIY investors with. Any user can essentially select their investing profile then mirror “on paper” what they are currently invested in (you’ll need your tickers and the quantity of each) and use the solution to display how they are performing in terms of risk, allocation, diversification, and specific buy/sell recommendations.

I took some screenshots during my own login and tour of late. This is what I found:

  1. Great to look at MarketGrader for ideas and actual reports:

BMO adviceDirect MarketGrader

  1. Cool to see even with a few Canadian dividend paying stocks entered, I got flagged for lack of diversification and an opportunity to adjust my risk profile:

BMO adviceDirect Risk Profile

  1. Within a few clicks of a button, I can create a Watchlist with the latest report – this one about one of my favourite stocks to buy and hold: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ):

BMO adviceDirect Trade Ideas.jpg

How does adviceDirect Preview work?

Like most sign-ups with brokerages, you’ll complete an investment questionnaire. This is not the case with adviceDirect Preview. Only a simple sign-up process is required for adviceDirect Preview. To complete the Portfolio Health Check, you’ll want your holdings information handy though, so make sure to have that!

If you decide to move ahead with the full adviceDirect offering as a solution for you, you’ll have to complete an investor questionnaire to confirm your risk tolerance, your investing goals, and your investment timeline.

As a DIY investor using any other existing brokerage, adviceDirect Preview delivers a great view into the adviceDirect platform without any obligation to be an adviceDirect customer.

And again folks, it’s FREE.

If I decide to sign up with adviceDirect – are there benefits?


Within adviceDirect, should you need any guidance or support anytime, you can also contact an adviceDirect Investment Specialist.

How to sign-up for adviceDirect Preview?


Just click this page and be up and running in minutes. I was. I’ve been using it for the past couple of weeks.

Like what you see – want to sign-up for adviceDirect?

There are three easy ways you can sign-up for a BMO adviceDirect account:

  1. Sign up online via their application form.
  2. Call BMO at 1-888-776-6886.
  3. Book an appointment at a BMO branch to discuss your investment options, including adviceDirect.


As a My Own Advisor reader, of course I’m going to offer you a promotion and Deal.

A reminder you can check out my promotion with BMO, that offers cash back when you open a BMO InvestorLine account.

There is never any obligation, but that promotion is pretty darn good. 

BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect and adviceDirect Preview Summary

My site is all about my DIY investing journey, my money mistakes and hopefully my success stories along the way. As an advocate for DIY investing however, I know some support and guidance is helpful for every investor.

This is where BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect Preview can help – for free.

I believe if you want to start or become more of a DIY investor, then you’ll want to avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve referenced above. If you want some support and help for your DIY journey, then I believe BMO InvestorLine’s adviceDirect Preview-tool is an excellent, free, no-risk way to preview what DIY investing plus personalized support can be. If you like the offering but are looking for a little more support, you can upgrade to the full adviceDirect service which allows gives you unlimited trade ideas, Watchlist spots, access to a Financial Advisor and more.

Younger investors, including millennials, will appreciate the tools and recommendations to stay on top of their money. Seasoned investors, who have modest to higher investment values, should also take advantage of the adviceDirect Preview tool. The interface is great, the watchlist is excellent, the portfolio health check uncovers biases, and it’s all FREE for any investor.

DIY investing is growing and getting better with time. BMO is helping to do their part at no cost to Canadian investors.

Thanks for reading and leave me a comment about this post or any other investing subject. I read every comment.


Notes and disclosure:

For more information on adviceDirect Preview and any other BMO solution please visit:

adviceDirect Preview is a product of BMO InvestorLine Inc. (“BMO InvestorLine”). BMO InvestorLine is a member of BMO Financial Group. is a proud partner with BMO and has promotions in place with BMO. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

16 Responses to "BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect Preview – DIY Investing support for Free"

  1. Thanks Mark. I am experimenting with the free service. Like you it didnt like my diversification and ratings. It is interesting but doesnt quite give enough detail. It is obviously geared to getting us to interact with them. It tells my my sectors have 39% in one sector….which I cant determine how it gets there. Will play with it to see how it all works.

    1. Oh for sure Brent but I do believe it’s interesting to see how your portfolio might stack up. I intend to play around more with it myself.
      All the best,

  2. I am a long time Investorline client. I finally moved 2 x RRSP’s and small cash account from Edward Jones to consolidate everything under the Advice Direct platform. I now have a dedicated advisor with this and an enjoying being DIY but also having a sounding board when I have questions. Other benefits such as free trades, Norbert’s Gambit, wealth planning, legacy planning and more. Glad I took the leap.
    Always enjoy your newsletter Mark. Thanks for being a great resource.

    1. That sounds very good Judy and kudos. The free trades is very nice and I suspect you never got that at Edward Jones 🙂
      I appreciate your kind words Judy. It’s fun to run the site and interact with great readers! All the best.

  3. Hi Mark, I always enjoy your posts. I’m apprehensive with BMO InvestorLine as I had an account with them for many years. My issue was with their lack of customer service, or constantly being locked out of my account. Before I made the decision to transfer out I had to hold 12 hours to speak to Customer service. All my on-line efforts to sign in failed “unable to verify your identity”. I sure hope they have made efforts to improve their customer service and a fix when you get locked out. I did like many of their on-line features which were helpful for the DIY investor.

    1. Wow Lisa, not a good experience at all. I’m sure they would work hard to win you back. I can appreciate the scar-tissue that you get from some experiences. I’ve had those myself. I know the folks I work with at BMO are outstanding.

      The great news is, BMO adviceDirect Preview is free and there is no obligation to sign up for adviceDirect – I do like that.

  4. I won’t be using this particular service, but all Canadian investors owe a debt of gratitude to BMO for the ETF solutions they have developed for the Canadian market and for their consistent efforts to educate Canadians about ETF investing.

      1. Yes ETF are the way to go for ease, and I’m one of the retired baby boomer generation that won’t use a financial advisor, especially those with a bank as they have proven to be poorly informed and only pushing in house products with 2% fees. Also their recommendations are based on past performance without understanding or communicating why bond funds increase in value due to decreasing interest rates.
        I’m also leery of independent financial advisors as I personally have one friend who lost almost all of his assets due to poor allocation and book-keeping by the advisor and it only became obvious with the advisor’s death. He had to go back to work instead of continuing his retirement.
        I typically pick my investments in January and leave them for the year and they are mostly equities.

        1. re: financial advisor. That is terrible. Sorry to hear.

          My experiences are that many financial advisors, beyond maybe that horrible experience, also have biases just like the rest of us. Nobody is perfect.

          To your points Hugh, I think it’s smart to be wary of the financial industry at large. I’m a huge fan of DIY investing overall and encourage everyone to consider it.

          Thanks for your comment,


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