By: Sandy Kenrick | Updated: 8th September 2020.
It’s hard to ignore BMO’s longstanding history in the market, and for investors, the backing of 200 years’ experience plays a big role in the decision-making process. The BMO Stocks and Shares ISA is a simple product that offers simple choices. While I like a few more options when it comes to fund or trust selections, BMO might just have resolved the investor’s conundrum with its boutique range.
BMO has a solid reputation and when it took over Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust (F&C) in 2014, investors had the best of both worlds: BMO’s reputation and F&C’s £82 billion in assets.
The fees are reasonable unless you’re only investing £50 per month, which is the minimum allowable on the product. A fee of roughly £72 including VAT takes a hefty portion out of the capital, plus there’s the dealing fee that also needs to be considered. Investing the minimum lump sum of £500 might be a better option in order to avoid movement as much as possible.
Give the mobile app some time as the developers still need to work out some kinks. The website itself is easy to navigate on desktop and mobile, which suffices as an interim solution.
BMO provides ten investment trusts to choose from and investors’ funds are pooled together to create a fund. The trusts are portioned into three subsections that include UK & Europe, Global, and Property. Each individual trust has its own fact sheets and investors have instant access to trust information online.
The BMO Stocks and Shares ISA follows the guidelines and investors are limited to the annual investment cap for the product, which is currently £20,000 for this tax year. However, BMO makes the product more accessible to a larger number of investors by dropping the minimum monthly contributions to £50, or a once-off lump sum of £500.
The BMO app allows investors to keep track of their ISAs. Investors can view their transaction history, and other relevant information such as their remaining ISA subscription allowances. The app might just be the only bugbear at the moment, as it still needs further development to be seamless. Loading times are really slow and for investors on the go, this isn’t ideal. It’s currently only available on the Apple App Store and according to BMO, further upgrades will ensure the app’s compatibility with Android devices.
There is a 02.% charge on sales and purchases.
Investors tend to get caught off-guard by the VAT on the annual fee, and when that £72 is deducted, it can create a bit of discontent. While many sites list BMO’s annual fee on the Stocks and Shares ISA as £60, they often forget to add that this figure is VAT exclusive.
It’s also important to remember that there is a 0.5% stamp duty fee on UK shares.
The 10 investment trusts offer investors 13 share classes, which include ord, income, growth, and units. The minimum investment is £50 per month, which covers the commission and annual product fee. If you’re looking at keeping your portfolio within the UK, be mindful of the 0.5% stamp duty.
BMO Stocks and Shares ISA is easily applied for on the website. It’s as simple as registering for an online profile and submitting the required information. Each screen is simple to navigate and possibly the toughest part would deciding which trust, and then the subsequent subdivisions to go for. If you’ve already done your homework and know which route you’re going to follow, then the entire registration process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
It’s worth mentioning that this is just an ordinary online profile, and you’re not accessing a sharedealing platform.
Part of the joy of bringing F&C into the fold, was also bringing along some of the top fund managers and investment specialists globally. It’s important to note that the information provided on the site is limited to fund information and fact sheets, as this is not a sharedealing site.
BMO is known for its great service delivery and effective communication channels. Customers can reach service representatives via telephone or email and turnaround times are fast. Simple queries tend to be resolved instantly, while more complex problems are escalated up the proper channels in a satisfactory manner. According to BMO, they have a 98% customer satisfaction rating.
The BMO Stocks and Shares ISA is good for investors who want the flexibility of growth or income, but without getting stuck on the choices. Investors who are yet to get their hands on an ISA and have a healthy risk appetite, may want to look into this one. Frugal investors may also find this offer attractive thanks to the low and straightforward pricing model.
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