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How much control do you want over your online investments?

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By Peter Kenter (C) 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum, there’s an online brokerage option out there for you.

“Today, online investing is for everyone. There’s a whole range of options that offer investors the ability to be completely independent.”

Silvio Stroescu, president
BMO InvestorLine and head, Direct Investing.

In the early days of online investing, the only way to fly was to be a do-it-yourself investor, recalls Silvio Stroescu, president BMO InvestorLine and head, Direct Investing.

“Today, online investing is for everyone,” he says. “There’s a whole range of online investing options that offer investors the ability to be completely independent, receive some assistance with managing their portfolios, or leave the management of their assets entirely to the experts. They offer lower fees than traditional investing, provide complete transparency, and allow you to monitor performance at any time.

Stroescu offers an analogy for the different types of online investors—there’s the Pilot, The Co-Pilot and the Auto-Pilot.

The Pilot:

“‘Pilots’ love the idea of flying their own plane and charting their own course,” says Stroescu. “These are do-it-yourself investors who trade their own stocks, understand how to construct a diversified portfolio, understand how to balance and rebalance it and align the portfolio to meet their own goals. They’re very self-directed. At BMO, this type of investor would tend to choose BMO InvestorLine.”

He notes that “pilots” are typically very confident in their investment knowledge and skills, which often leads them to expand their activities and try new investment strategies. These investors typically invest primarily in stocks, with some even trading options and fixed-income products.

While they like their independence, “pilots” can still rely on BMO Wealth Management research tools and resources to help them make informed decisions. BMO InvestorLine clients can access support—not advice.

“What’s great for these ‘pilot’ investors, is that the more they do on their own, the lower the costs associated with investing,” says Stroescu.

“Today, online investing is for everyone. There’s a whole range of options that offer investors the ability to be completely independent.”

Silvio Stroescu, president
BMO InvestorLine and head, Direct Investing.

The Co-Pilot:

“These are hybrid investors who may be new to investing, but want to trade their own stocks and build their own portfolios,” says Stroescu. “However, they also need some help with their choices. They’re not yet fully comfortable on their own, so they’d like some support as they gain greater familiarity with online investing. We see these clients gravitating to adviceDirect.”

Under adviceDirect, clients are provided with specific advice and continuous portfolio monitoring based on their investor profile or the type of investor they are. Online investors can also receive support and guidance, from investment specialists — when they need it — either online or over the phone.

“We can help investors to ensure they’ve got a suitable portfolio allocation, for example, make sure they’re diversified across industries, and ensure the portfolio is balanced and set up to meet their goals,” says Stroescu.

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The Auto-Pilot:

“‘Auto-pilots’ are investors who are interested in having their assets invested for the long term, don’t trade their own stocks and still want a smart online investing option they can be confident in,” says Stroescu. “They’re primarily focused on building their careers, do not have the time to manage their own investments and are seeking smart alternatives to traditional investing options. This hands-free style of investor is usually best suited to BMO SmartFolio.”

Under BMO SmartFolio, investors have expert portfolio managers overseeing investment portfolios for them. Investors can track their portfolio performance online at any time and take advantage of lower fees which are about half of the cost of traditional investing.

Stroescu notes that the three pilot types are good analogies for individual styles, but investors often find themselves transitioning between them.

“Some BMO investors are on a journey to become more independent in their investments,” he says. “One of our new adviceDirect clients referred to himself as an investor who’s working up to graduate from his investing training wheels.”

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division.

BMO SmartFolio is a product of BMO Nesbitt Burns.