How to Place an Order to Buy Shares of Stock in a Company with BMO InvestorLine

Once you have a self-directed investing account with BMO InvestorLine you can buy shares of the stock of publicly traded companies such as those listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. You will need to have enough money in the cash part of your account to pay for the shares plus to pay the trading costs. When in doubt, either limit the amount you are willing to pay per share or reduce the number of shares you are buying to ensure you will have enough cash in your account to cover both costs. There are various ways to limit or control your purchase order with InvestorLine and this article will describe some of them.

First, you may want to review

the suggestions in How to Get Ready to Buy Shares of Stock in a Company.

Before trading, you should know:

  • How many shares you want to purchase
  • Whether you want to buy all of your shares at once, or in batches over several months
  • What is the maximum price you will pay per share
  • Whether you will risk the price going up above what you expect to pay
  • Whether you will risk paying “too much” if the price drops after you set a fixed price at which to buy
  • What it costs you to execute a trade
  • That you have or will have the cash to settle the trade in your account at the required time
  • Whether you will get paid the next dividend or not, if applicable
  • What the price history has been for the stock

How to Place an Equity Buy Order with BMO InvestorLine

  1. Go to BMO InvestorLine at:
  2. To sign in to your BMO InvestorLine account/s:
    1. In the User ID or Account # field, type your account number or if you have grouped your accounts under one User ID, type your User ID.
    2. In the Password field, type your password.
    3. Click on the Go button.
  3. From the drop-down list on the right side of the screen, select which account you wish to make the purchase in.
    For example, I selected my RRSP account.
  4. Under the Trading tab, select Equities.
    The Type will already have Equity selected, which is what we want today.
    You could also select Option from the drop-down list if you have an Options account: don’t.

Check the Current (Real Time) Price for an Equity Using BMO InvestorLine

  1. In the Symbol field, type the trading symbol for the company you are interested in.
    For example, I typed: BNS
  2. Press the Enter key.
  3. On the right side of the screen, a small chart will display the current price and how much it is up or down since the open price.
    It will give the hour and minute of the last trade. (But not, unfortunately, the second)
    It will list

    • the Bid and Ask prices
    • the Bid and Ask Lots
    • the High and Low for the day, and
    • the Volume
  4. You can update the price by clicking on the Refresh Quote link.
    You have to keep clicking it if you want to see the most recent price.
    For an actively traded stock like BNS, the price can flip around significantly several times a minute.
  5. There are no “streaming” or automatically updated real-time quotes available at the regular trading level of account. (If you have a LOT of money at InvestorLine you may be upgraded to a higher level of service including streaming quotes. I doubt I will ever be at that level.)
  6. Even though it only reports the Last Trade time to the nearest minute, you can get several quotes during that same minute by clicking on the Refresh Quote button.
  7. If you’re curious, you can click the tabs on this small chart to also see
    • Your account balance
    • Your order status
    • Charts (This will take you out of the Equity and Option Order Entry screen and back to the Quotes screen we looked at earlier.)
    • Help (This brings out a pop-up window of quick information about placing orders. It’s worth reading at least once.)

If you still want to place your Buy Order you can continue with these steps.

How to Submit a Buy Order for Shares Using BMO InvestorLine

  1. With the Type set to Equity
    From the Action drop-down list select Buy.
  2. From the Market drop-down list select Canadian or US.
  3. In the Symbol field, type the trading symbol for the company of interest.
  4. On the chart on the right side of the screen click Refresh Quote.
  5. In the Quantity field, type the number of shares you wish to buy.
    The system will update the right side of the screen with an estimate of the cost to buy the shares with the commission at the current Market Price.
    NOTE: The Market Price is changing every second. Your total cost may go up or down!
    Make sure you will have enough cash to pay for the shares PLUS the trading commission.
  6. CONSIDER whether you want to buy at the Market Price.
    Personally I never do. I always enter a price limit. Yes, sometimes this means I pay too much for a stock, if the price drops after I set my order. However I have never had to pay more than I expected for a stock.
  7. From the Trade Price drop-down list select either
    • Market Price
      To take a chance and pay what the stock is trading for at the second your trade is executed; or
    • Price Limit:
      To state exactly what price you are willing to pay.

      • Note: If the stock starts to fall in value, your trade will definitely get filled on the way down and you may pay more than other people for the stock.
      • Also, if you set a price limit that is too low, no one will sell you the stock and your order will not fill. (You will not be charged a commission if your order does not fill.) So I could put in a buy order for BNS at $5, but aside from some sort of computer system error, I would not expect it to fill!
  8. From the drop-down list, select the appropriate Settlement Funds: Canadian Dollar or US Dollar.
  9. In the Good Until field, if applicable, select the last day for which this order will be in place. For example, you can select Today Only, or you can select up to 19 business days later.
  10. In the Contact Information field, type the telephone number at which you can be reached by the broker.
  11. If applicable, in the Extension field, type your telephone extension number.
  12. Check out the summary of your request in the Review & Submit Order box.
    If they look acceptable, in the Enter Your Password box, type your trading password.
  13. To place the order, click on the Submit Order button.
  14. If you place a ridiculously low price to buy, you may get the error message:
    Your order was not processed. The following problem is associated with your order:
    Warning: The limit price you have specified is too far off the market. Your order may not be accepted. (11060)
    You may continue with your order or may choose to change/cancel the order.
    It was actually a bit reassuring to know it wouldn’t accept an order to buy BNS at $1 a share!
  15. If you submitted a more reasonable order, the Order Confirmation screen will be displayed.
  16. You may wish to copy and paste this Order Confirmation into a document and save it for reference.

You’re done!

To Review Your Order

(For more detailed information, please also see Reviewing Your Orders for a BMO InvestorLine Account.)

  1. From the Trading tab, select Order Status.
  2. A list of your orders is displayed. You can see quickly if the order is open, filled or expired.
    To review the details of an order, such as the price limit, click on the Original Order Number in the list.

Securely End Your Session

  1. If you have finished using BMO InvestorLine, click on the Sign Out link.
  2. For increased security, close your browser session.

Related Reading

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Do you have any tips for investors placing orders to purchase shares using BMO InvestorLine? Please share your experiences with a comment.

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