BMO Nesbitt Burns

BMO Nesbitt Burns is the investment management and stock broking division of the Bank of Montreal. The Bank of Montreal is one of the big five Canadian retail banks, and is the only one that is based in Quebec. It has 900 branches in Canada and a further 200 in other parts of the world, with a particularly strong presence in Chicago, trading under the name Harris Bank and BMO Harris. Its operational head office is in Toronto, like all the other big five banks, and it is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Bank of Montreal was founded in 1817, and is Canada’s oldest bank. It has merged with a number of other banks, including Moulson Bank, the Bank of British North America and the People’s Bank of New Brunswick. It has also merged with merchant and investment banks such as the Commercial Bank of Canada and Merchants Bank of Canada.

BMO Nesbitt Burns is a full service investing house, and the Bank of Montreal has a separate self service investment division called BMO InvestorLine. The investment and corporate banking that BMO does is separated from the stock broker, so cutting down conflicts of interest, and trades under the name BMO Capital Markets. BMO Nesbitt Burns only operates in Canada, and there is an investment advisory business, Harris Investment Services, which operates in the United States. There is also a private banking operation for clients with a very high net worth, called BMO Harris Private Banking.

In 1987 Canadian retail banks were allowed to operate in wholesale banking areas such as investment banking and share dealing. Most of the large Canadian retail banks, with their large deposit base, could afford to buy into this market and chose this route rather than growing the business. The Bank of Montreal decided to buy Nesbitt Thompson. Nesbitt Thompson had been founded in 1912 and was one of Canada’s oldest stock broking firms. Like the Bank of Montreal, Nesbitt Thompson was a Montreal based operation which had not moved to Toronto when Toronto had started to take over from Montreal as the financial center of Canada. In 1994 the Bank of Montreal bought the securities dealer Burns Fry Ltd. This was merged with Nesbitt Thompson to become BMO Nesbitt Burns.

As a full service investment firm, BMO operates through a large number of investment advisors. These are crucial to its client relationships. The investment advisors maintain their own personal websites and no business is done by a client making an enquiry to the head office, instead this needs to be done via an investment advisor.

BMO Nesbitt Burns offers a wide variety of services including financial planning, estate services, insurance, group pension plans, a charitable giving program and a research department. In the Brendan Woods International Survey, BMO Nesbitt Burns has been ranked as having the best overall research team since 1981.

BMO Nesbitt Burns offer many of the investment products that a large stock broker would be expected to offer including individual and group pension plans, exchange traded funds and registered education savings plans.

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