BMO Financial Group
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BMO Financial Group

June 12, 2015 06:00 ET

Inaugural BMO Wealth Management Index Finds that British Columbians are Adept at Having a Financial Strategy in Place

- National index ranks residents of each province on who is most successful at managing their wealth according to a variety of criteria

- British Columbia places ninth among the provinces in the inaugural study

- British Columbians score well in the high value of their assets and having a financial strategy in place; opportunities exist for them to improve by reducing debt and contributing to a rainy day fund

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 12, 2015) - BMO Wealth Management today launched a first-of-its-kind national Wealth Index, which provides a snapshot of Canadians' financial situation and measures their ability to manage their wealth.

The inaugural BMO Wealth Management Index ranks residents of each province, out of a score of 100, on which residents are most successful in managing their wealth. This is determined by looking at a variety of criteria, including: having, reviewing and maintaining a financial plan; household debts and assets; retirement savings; having insurance in place; estate planning components; rainy day savings; and the sustainability of their current financial situation. The Index is unique among financial measures because it considers more than just "balance sheets" (i.e. how much money Canadians have).

With a score of 66.3, B.C. placed ninth out of the ten provinces polled; the national average score was 69.3. British Columbians scored highest in the following areas:

  • Having household assets of high value (average of $516,600, which is second only to Alberta)
  • Having a financial strategy in place (81 per cent)
  • Reviewing their financial plan regularly (75 per cent)
  • Having a prepared estate plan (65 per cent)

The categories in which they scored lowest included:

  • Having a high level of debt (average of $103,400)
  • The average amount they have in their rainy day fund (average of $24,000, which is $10,000 less than the national average)
  • Prioritizing their retirement savings (77 per cent do not consider this a top priority) Ensuring the effectiveness of their financial plan (76 per cent have not used a professional to create their plan)

"It's great to see that many British Columbians are thinking about their finances and have some form of financial strategy in place," said Jennifer Muench, Vice President and Managing Director, BMO Private Banking, a part of BMO Wealth Management. "However, the concept of wealth is multi-dimensional and includes adjusting to unexpected changes in your life and environment. Many British Columbians would benefit from consulting a professional who can assist them in developing a financial plan that not only takes into consideration immediate priorities, but also future financial goals such as the purchase of a home or retirement."

British Columbians Confident About Financial Preparedness

In addition to questions to determine the Index rankings, B.C. residents were asked about how prepared they are to deal with significant life changes, such as getting married, the birth of a child, job loss, retirement etc.:

  • Fifty-nine per cent are confident that they would be prepared financially
  • Twenty-one per cent are not very confident that they would be prepared financially
  • Eleven per cent are not at all confident that they would be prepared financially

"It's positive that more than half of B.C. residents believe they can take on a major change successfully," said Betsey Chung, Chief Marketing Officer, Canadian Banking & Wealth Management, BMO Financial Group. "Life events and market changes are often catalysts for people to reconsider their approach to wealth management. We're here to help clients turn these changes into opportunities - whether it's a fresh start, a new endeavour or a chance to give back."

BMO Wealth Management recently launched a multi-faceted ad campaign that is appearing across all customer experience platforms and webpages. The campaign tells the stories of clients going through significant life changes - newly single, aging parents, kids returning after university and changing market conditions, to name a few - and showcases how BMO Wealth Management can help clients turn those changes into opportunities for greater financial success and peace of mind.

BMO Wealth Management Index - Provincial Breakdown

Province Index Score
National 69.3
Saskatchewan 72.9
Quebec 71.1
Alberta 70.6
Newfoundland & Labrador 70.4
Nova Scotia 70.0
Ontario 69.2
Manitoba 68.4
PEI 66.7
B.C. 66.3
New Brunswick 58.9

BMO Wealth Management Index - Key National Findings:

  • Canadians scored well on having a financial strategy (81 per cent) and ensuring their loved ones were financially secure by having a life insurance policy (66 per cent)
  • Opportunities exist for them to improve by working with a professional to ensure the effectiveness of their financial plan (66 per cent have not used a professional) and prioritizing saving for retirement (65 per cent do not do so)
  • When Canadians were asked about how they would fare financially in the event of a major life event (such as getting married, the birth of a child, loss of a job, etc.), 62 per cent are confident that they would be prepared financially, 21 per cent are not very confident and 10 per cent are not at all confident

Survey results cited in this report are from online interviews with a random sample of 1,403 Canadians, 18 years of age and over, conducted between April 10th and 13th, 2015.

As a guideline, a probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 2.6%, 19 times out of 20. Results have been weighted using the latest census data to be representative of Canadians as a whole.

For more information on BMO Wealth Management, please visit: http://www.bmo.com/main/wealth-management.

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About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of approximately $633 billion as of April 30, 2015, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

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