Toronto-based Bank of Montreal (BMO) is the first bank to formally launch a robo-advice platform as it has officially launched its robo-advisor platform on Thursday — at least to its employees.
The platform, called BMO SmartFolio, is currently available to BMO employees and will be available to all Canadian investors by mid-January 2016. The automated advice platform is a BMO Wealth Management offering but is operating under the bank’s brokerage arm, BMO Nesbitt Burns. Inc.
Investors with BMO SmartFolio will answer a series of questions online to identify their risk tolerance and their savings goals. The investors will then be recommended one of five exchange-traded fund (ETF) portfolios based on that information. Each portfolio contains between six and 10 ETFs on average. Financial professionals with BMO Global Asset Management will manage each of the five portfolio options.
Investors can open an account with a minimum of $5,000. The minimum fee for the account is $15 per quarter. The platform also offers a tiered fee structure ranging from 0.7% for the first $100,000 down to 0.4% for accounts of $500,000 or more. ETF management fees range between 0.2% and 0.35%.
Currently, all funds held within the portfolios are BMO ETFs. However, BMO has confirmed that the fund mix within the portfolios could open up in future to other non-BMO ETFs based on what investors are seeking and what investments are in the best interest of those investors.
BMO SmartFolio joins a number of independents including, Wealthsimple Financial Inc., Nest Wealth Asset Management, both headquartered in Toronto, Vancouver-based WealthBar Financial Services Inc. and Modern Advisor Canada Inc. and Oakville, Ont.-based Invisor Investment Management Inc.
Other banks, such as Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia have all indicated that they are looking into digital advice options. Toronto-based HollisWealth Inc., a subsidiary of Scotiabank, will launch a robo-advisor platform in 2016.