Review of BMO InvestorLine’s MyLink Secure Email Service

This is a review of the entire MyLink email service offering, including messages generated and sent by InvestorLine.

My post Using the MyLink Secure Email Function to Contact BMO InvestorLine in Writing provides instructions for using MyLink. At the start of that post, I explained that MyLink allows InvestorLine clients to

send messages securely and privately to InvestorLine staff. However, MyLink is a two-way system and InvestorLine staff also use it to send information to their clients.

Review of the Pros and Cons of Contacting InvestorLine through MyLink

For a more detailed review of only using the MyLink service to send specific questions to InvestorLine and to receive answers for those questions, see the article: Review of Contacting BMO InvestorLine Using the MyLink Secure Email Program.

The conclusion of the review of that portion of the MyLink offering is that MyLink provides

  • a secure method of corresponding with InvestorLine in writing
  • a reasonably prompt response to questions, varying from 1 to 3 business days
  • a convenient way to contact InvestorLine without being overheard on the phone
  • answers to queries that include as much information as is readily available to support staff. However some questions are not well enough documented by InvestorLine to permit agents to reply. Staff does not seem overly concerned with explaining how to get more detailed information, although I’m sure if I phoned I could ask for it.

Review of the Pros and Cons of InvestorLine Contacting Clients through MyLink

InvestorLine also uses MyLink to send routine information to clients. Email messages that they send include, according to InvestorLine’s help function “messages specific to your investment portfolio, including:
• GIC and other fixed-income maturity reminders
• eStatement announcements
• Order and option expiry notices
• News articles, reports and webcasts
• Investment product information”

InvestorLine Analyst Rating Change Notices

One of the most common messages I receive from InvestorLine via MyLink is Analyst Rating Change Notices. If an analyst reports to InvestorLine a changed evaluation of an investment that I own, a Change Notice is sent to my MyLink inbox.

The notice is a simple, clear table. It lists the code for the stock, a description of the security, the source of the information, the rating date, the previous rating (if applicable), the current rating (this is the new value), the price date, the previous target price and the current target price.

For example, recently I was advised of a change in the analysis for FTS, Fortis, by BMO Capital Markets, changing the rating from Outperform to Market Perform.

I have also received notices about Morningstar Credit Research changes for investments.

One thing to note is that these recommendations are available only in English.

In your Account Profile you can turn off notifications by investment if you want. You can also ask to be notified by regular email if an analyst rating change is sent to your MyLink account.

Review: While I am a long-term investor, I can see where it might be convenient for some investors to receive these updates, especially if several agencies report a change in outlook simultaneously.

InvestorLine Order and Option Expiry Notices

Having been married to a corporate hedging advisor for a blue chip Canadian company, I don’t invest in Options. So I can’t comment on the option expiry notices.

I was frankly surprised to see that they say MyLink is used to report Order Expiry Notices. I’m not sure what this refers to. I often place orders to buy or sell with price limits. Since many of them are wildly speculative (for example, I’ll sell TD if it shoots up $5 today by the end of the day) they usually expire at the close of trading. I’ve never received any notice through MyLink for these types of expiries. I just go to the Trading tab, and click on Order Status/Change/Cancel and check what happened.

Review: Having never received these notices, I can’t comment except to state they seem like useful ideas.

InvestorLine Upcoming GIC Maturity Notices

Although I have my own means of tracking this information, it is convenient that InvestorLine sends a notice a few weeks ahead of the date a GIC will mature. Because all mature GICs and their earned interest are automatically are paid out to cash it is important to know when this will happen. Once the GIC matures, it is no longer earning anything. To optimize earnings, it’s important to know the money is sitting in the cash account (not earning any interest!) and to get it reinvested promptly.

I don’t have any bonds through InvestorLine, but apparently they also send maturity notices for these types of investments.

Review: This service works and is useful in optimizing investments.

InvestorLine e-Statement Notices

A less interesting and less useful message I receive monthly from MyLink tells me my monthly eStatement is ready to view. Frankly, you can just as easily click on the Portfolio tab and click on eStatements from the drop-down menu to see if your monthly statement is ready.

Now that I’ve been reminded of this, I decided to go in and cancel these notifications. (It doesn’t stop me getting the eStatements, cancelling just stops the emails telling me the statements are ready.) To do so, I chose the Account Services tab, then clicked on User ID Profile from the drop-down menu. I expanded the Statements section by clicking on the Plus sign. Then I clicked to de-select the option “I would like to be notified via email when my eStatement is available.” Then I clicked the Save Changes button. Actually, this may or may not cancel notification by MyLink. I also receive email notification to my real email account. So it may have turned off both or only one notification. Next month will tell! [Update: It turned off the email notifications but not the MyLink notifications.]

Review: This seems unnecessary but is not objectionable.

InvestorLine Information and Training Updates

When InvestorLine adds another training video or investing webinar, they send a notice through MyLink. Like the ads, these are short messages, easily dealt with.

Review: These are useful and not objectionable.

BMO InvestorLine Ads

Of course, InvestorLine sends you notices about new offerings, new products and services, such as their recent addition adviceDirect. These are always very short and generally just link to another page, so they are easy to ignore or read as you choose.

Review: They are very moderate and don’t send too many ads.

Caution: MyLink Automatically Deletes Old Messages

If you need to keep any messages for tax purposes or to document a decision that might later be disputed, be sure to print a copy of your messages and InvestorLine’s replies, or save a copy of both electronically. MyLink is setup to auto-delete messages after 90 days.

Conclusion: Overall Review of InvestorLine MyLink Secure Email Service

I find this service useful, practical and timely. InvestorLine keeps the ads to a minimum and the useful information provided to a maximum. I haven’t noticed any large gaps in the types of messages provided or noticed any delays in receiving messages.

As mentioned in the other post, I also find the service very useful for communicating with the InvestorLine support staff.

I would rate MyLink as a useful tool that makes InvestorLine a good brokerage to choose.

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Have you used MyLink? How would you rate the service? Does your brokerage offer an email service? Please share your experiences with a comment.

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