Annual Report 2016

Management’s Discussion and Analysis

BMO Wealth Management

BMO’s wealth business serves a full range of client segments, from mainstream to ultra-high net worth and institutional, with a broad offering of wealth management products and services including insurance. BMO Wealth Management is a global business with an active presence in markets across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.

Image of Joanna Rotenberg and Gilles Ouellette

Joanna Rotenberg
Group Head
BMO Wealth Management(1)

Gilles Ouellette
Group Head, BMO Asset Management and
Vice-Chair, International, BMO Financial Group(1)

Lines of Business

BMO Nesbitt Burns, our full-service investing business in Canada, offers comprehensive and client-focused investment, and wealth advisory services that leverage strong financial planning capabilities, as well as Canada’s first bank-owned digital portfolio management platform, BMO SmartFolio®.

BMO InvestorLine is an online investing service that offers clients two ways to invest: our top-ranked self-directed service, which provides tools to help investors make independent investment decisions; or adviceDirect™, which provides investors with online advice and investment recommendations for their portfolios.

BMO’s Private Banking businesses operate in Canada, the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore, offering a comprehensive range of financial services and solutions to high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients and, under BMO Harris Financial Advisors, to mass affluent clients in the United States.

BMO Asset Management is a globally significant asset management organization that provides investment management, trust and custody services to institutional, retail and high net worth investors around the world.

BMO Insurance operates in Canada and internationally. In Canada, we manufacture life insurance, accident and sickness insurance, and annuity products that are marketed both to brokers and directly to individuals. Our creditor insurance division markets group creditor insurance, and internationally, we provide reinsurance solutions.

Strengths and Value Drivers

  • Planning and advice-based approach that integrates investment, insurance, specialized wealth management and core banking solutions.
  • Team of highly skilled wealth professionals committed to providing a great client experience.
  • Prestigious brand that is broadly recognized and trusted.
  • Strong presence in North America, globally in asset management and in private banking in select markets, including Europe and Asia.
  • Diversified portfolio of digital investment solution platforms ranging from self-directed investing to professional money management.
  • Access to BMO’s broad client base and distribution networks.
  • Strong risk management framework to enable us to operate within our risk appetite and respond to heightened regulatory expectations.

Strategy and Key Priorities

We aim to be the wealth management solutions provider that defines great client experience. Our strategy is to deliver on our clients’ wealth management needs now and into the future by enhancing the client experience, while focusing on innovation and productivity, increasing collaboration across BMO and maintaining a strong risk management framework.

Enhance our clients’ experience and deliver on their evolving wealth management needs

2016 Achievements

  • Launched BMO SmartFolio®, Canada’s first bank-owned digital portfolio management platform, to provide an easy and affordable “hands-free” personal investing solution to our clients.
  • Improved our financial planning capabilities to better help clients create robust financial plans through enhanced training, the addition of financial planning professionals, as well as enhancements to financial planning software.
  • Launched new exchange traded funds (ETFs) in both Europe and Asia, and solidified our position as the #2 ETF provider in Canada.
  • Expanded wealth offerings, solutions and programs for targeted growth demographics, such as millennials and women investors.
  • Launched the BMO Women in Leadership Fund, the first impact investing mutual fund by a Canadian bank.
  • Established a team of specialist professionals focused on providing services for our clients with cross-border financial needs.
  • Continued to improve our lending capabilities in the ultra-high net worth segment.
  • Received a number of awards, including Best Online Brokerage for BMO InvestorLine (Morningstar), Best Private Client Investment Platform for CTC | myCFO (Private Asset Management Magazine), Best New ETF Issuer and Best New Fixed Income ETF for BMO Global Asset Management EMEA ( and Best Domestic Private Bank for BMO Private Banking (Global Financial Market Review).

2017 Focus

  • Invest in market-leading product innovations and wealth planning solutions tailored to meeting clients’ evolving needs.

Drive productivity and simplify processes to improve the client experience

2016 Achievements

  • Improved our data analytics capabilities to increase the capacity and efficiency of our sales force.
  • Enhanced the onboarding and online client experience.
  • Streamlined our organizational structure to increase collaboration and realize operational efficiencies across and within our businesses.

2017 Focus

  • Continue to improve productivity through digitalization and process transformation.

Meet our clients’ needs through increased collaboration

2016 Achievements

  • Focused on strengthening collaboration across BMO in order to offer our clients holistic solutions that meet their financial needs at every stage of their lives. Clients benefit from access to a broader suite of services, including traditional banking services, through a more efficient operating and client-service model.
  • Continued to onboard, train and expand our sales professional teams in strategically important segments.
  • Embarked on a multi-year digitalization program.
  • Continued to enhance our integrated global Asset Management operating platform to better serve our clients.

2017 Focus

  • Increase collaboration within BMO Wealth Management and across the bank to deliver exceptional client experience.

Maintain strong risk management and compliance practices

2016 Achievements

  • Effectively managed the risks across our business and responded to heightened regulatory expectations.
  • Grew our lending book in line with our risk appetite and our streamlined lending processes.
  • Continued to enhance anti-money laundering tools and processes to protect our customers, including the implementation of technology improvements focused on transaction monitoring and “Know your Customer” processes.

2017 Focus

  • Continue to invest in a strong risk management and compliance framework to operate within our risk appetite and respond to heightened regulatory expectations.

(1) Prior to November 1, 2016, Joanna Rotenberg was Head, Personal Wealth and Gilles Ouellette was Group Head, Wealth Management.


This Wealth Management section contains forward-looking statements. Please see the Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.


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