The Bank of Montreal has found that millennials are leading the way in online investing and digital banking solutions

By Catherine Sturman

Contributing 3.3% to Canada’s GDP, the banking industry is being disrupted by consumer demands for digital applications which provide increased accessibility and convenience.

Employing more than 275,000 citizens in 2017, the percentage of Canadians who believe banks are bringing forth exceptional innovations remains considerably high.

The number of Canadians that undertake their banking digitally through online and mobile applications, continues to grow, with digital investing being no exception. Opening up the ability for customers to access a level of portfolio management services, the awareness of digital investing, and the advantages, is also gaining momentum.  From June 2017 - June 2018, the bulk of total personal spending (76%) by Canadians aged 18 and older was completed using digital payment methods, including debit and credit cards, preauthorized payments or online banking.

With total assets of CAD$807bn, and housing a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12mn customers. Conducting business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets, its InvestorLine has released the results of a survey conducted by Parameter Insights. Undertaken in October 2018, the study examined consumer views on digital investing and access to online wealth management platforms.

Through the survey, up to 51% of Canadians were found to be ‘slightly/somewhat familiar’ with knowledge of a ‘robo-advisor’ service. This growing familiarity is also reflected through higher adoption rates amongst BMO’s suite of online investing products.



“Online investing can appear to be intimidating, but we are seeing a shift in attitudes through adoption rates for BMO adviceDirect and BMO SmartFolio,” commented Silvio Stroescu, President, BMO InvestorLine. “BMO adviceDirect has seen four times the growth in adoption year over year. Our digital advice services are proving to change perceptions about investing, particularly for Canadians who are open to an easier way to build wealth but are wary of managing finances online or do not think they can afford to do so.”

Additionally, the survey found that millennials are increasingly utilizing technology to help manage their savings and investments at 86%, with Generation X closely following at 78%. Boomers are split, with 50% preferring to use technology to keep track of their investments.

Other findings include:

  • 59% of millennials want to “automate more aspects” of their financial life
  • 81% of Gen Xers are comfortable making financial transactions online
  • 41% of the Greatest Generation (those aged 71 years and older) are using technology to manage savings/investments


“Despite the variation in adoption among age groups, it is clear that overall adoption of digital investing is gaining momentum,” added Stroescu in a recent press release. “Our mission is to inspire Canadians to take action by offering innovative digital investing products that deliver on value - empowering and helping them to reach their financial goals.”

BMO's team of expert digital investing Portfolio Managers and Chartered Financial Analysts continue to make investment decisions that align with a client's investment objectives and risk tolerance. Its model portfolios are monitored and rebalanced when required to help keep clients on track with their investment objectives. 


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