Management’s Discussion and Analysis

BMO Wealth Management

BMO’s wealth management business serves a full range of clients, 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, EMEA and Asia.

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 a broad range of client-focused investment and wealth advisory services delivered with our comprehensive wealth planning capabilities, as well as Canada’s first bank-owned digital portfolio management platform, 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; and adviceDirect™, which provides investors with continuous portfolio monitoring and industry-leading analysis.

BMO’s Private Banking businesses in Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore offer a comprehensive range of financial services and solutions to high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients.

BMO’s U.S. Wealth Management businesses offer financial solutions to high net worth and ultra-high net worth families and businesses, and under BMO Harris Financial Advisors, to clients in the mass affluent segment.

BMO Global Asset Management (GAM) is a globally significant asset manager offering a comprehensive range of investment products and solutions to institutional, retail and high net worth investors around the world.

BMO Insurance provides life insurance and wealth solutions. We manufacture life insurance, accident and sickness insurance, annuity products and segregated funds that are marketed through advisors to individuals and group pension customers. We also offer group creditor and travel insurance to bank customers and reinsurance solutions to international reinsurers.

Strengths and Value Drivers

  • Planning and advice-based approach for individuals, families and businesses that integrates investment, insurance, specialized wealth management and core banking solutions, offered by a team of highly skilled wealth professionals committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of our clients.
  • Diversified portfolio of solutions, ranging from self-directed online investment to professional money management and integrated trust/banking services, for both retail and institutional clients.
  • Well-established presence in North American wealth management, as well as private banking capabilities in Asia.
  • Globally significant asset manager with broad distribution capabilities in North America, as well as Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia.
  • Prestigious brand that is widely recognized and trusted, with access to BMO’s broad client base and distribution networks, and a culture of innovation that anticipates clients’ needs.
  • Robust risk management framework supporting alignment with heightened regulatory expectations.

Strategy and Key Priorities

Deliver on our clients’ current and evolving personal wealth, insurance and institutional asset management needs through an exceptional client experience, a focus on innovation and productivity, and strong collaboration across BMO, while maintaining a robust risk management framework.

Key Priority

Deliver on our clients’ current and evolving personal wealth management and insurance needs, with an exceptional client experience

2018 Achievements

  • Continued to drive stronger client loyalty scores across all our businesses with our focus on delivering holistic wealth planning and great client experiences
  • Continued to invest in digital technology solutions to improve processes, drive productivity and provide greater mobility for our client-facing professionals, enabling them to serve clients in the manner most convenient for them
  • Launched new digital capabilities to enhance self-serve options for our clients
  • Transformed the digital journey for our SmartFolio clients from onboarding through account funding, and continued to improve their mobile experience
  • Strengthened our cross-border banking capabilities, providing Wealth Management clients with more ways to access and transfer funds, complemented by new outreach and education initiatives
  • Added to BMO’s financial planning team, which has doubled in size since 2013, to provide clients and wealth professionals with regional technical expertise in areas such as estate and cross-border planning
  • Launched a Cross-Pacific Referral Program with BMO Private Banking Canada and BMO Private Banking Asia to help meet our clients’ global needs
  • Continued to address the unique needs of women business owners and clients with our industry-leading BMO for Women program
  • Ongoing positive response to the simplicity and flexibility of our Whole Life insurance offering, with sales doubling year-over-year
  • Maintained and reinforced our leading position in pension de-risking, supported by a prudent approach to underwriting

2019 Focus

Provide outstanding support and innovative wealth and insurance offerings that anticipate clients’ evolving needs and exceed their expectations

Make a meaningful difference in the lives of our clients, enabled by a distinctive talent approach, strong technology and operations, world-class marketing and analytics and client-focused risk and regulatory compliance

Key Priority

Build on our leadership position in key asset management markets through enhanced investment and distribution capabilities

2018 Achievements

  • Leveraged global investment capabilities to enable delivery of solutions to new markets
  • Focused distribution on targeted channels, geographic markets and client segments to differentiate and capture share, for example, in the fiduciary market in EMEA
  • Achieved strong investment performance, with 83% of assets under management meeting or surpassing the relevant benchmark over a five-year period
  • Ranked #2 in Canadian ETF market share, while leading the market in net sales for the past five years
  • BMO Global Asset Management was named the Best Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) Research Team in the Investment Week Sustainable & ESG Investment Awards 2018. This award recognizes our longstanding commitment and leadership in responsible investing, and our belief that prudent management of ESG issues can have an important impact on the creation of long-term investor value

2019 Focus

Continue to build scale at BMO Global Asset Management by extending award-winning global investment capabilities for clients around the world, supported by our global operating platform

Key Priority

Bring the best of BMO to our clients through effective collaboration

2018 Achievements

  • Advanced collaboration among BMO Private Banking Canada, BMO Nesbitt Burns and Business Banking, as well as between U.S. Wealth Management and Commercial partners, to offer banking, investment and holistic wealth planning services to business and commercial clients in Canada and the United States
  • Continued to make co-location arrangements for our banking, planning, estate and trust, and investment teams, making it easier for clients to access the best of BMO
  • Made further improvements to our engagement model and delivered innovative BMO Global Asset Management offerings to Personal and Commercial Banking clients

2019 Focus

Continue to strengthen one team across Wealth Management, across the enterprise and across borders to bring the best of BMO to all clients

(1) Gilles Ouellette, Group Head, BMO Asset Management and Vice-Chair, International, BMO Financial Group, plans to retire in 2019. Joanna Rotenberg, Group Head, BMO Wealth Management, will then assume an expanded mandate, leading BMO Global Asset Management in addition to her current responsibilities.


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