There are many reasons why you may want to transfer your registered investment accounts from one financial institution to another. Some of these include:

  1. To consolidate all your accounts in one bank or financial institution for ease of access and management.
  2. When looking for cheaper investing options such as lower MERs.
  3. Interest in proprietary investment assets available at a specific financial institution.
  4. Choosing to go with a self-directed account i.e. DIY investing.

Transferring Registered Accounts between Banks

In general, there are no tax consequences when you transfer your RRSP, TFSA, RESP, or RRIF directly between financial institutions. The transfer can be done in cash or in kind.

In kind transfer means that your investment assets are transferred directly to your new account in the receiving institution without any buying or selling taking place. For example, if you held 1,000 shares of TD in your old account, you will have the same amount in your new account.

In cash transfer means that assets in your old account are sold and the resulting cash proceeds from sale is transferred to your new account at the receiving institution where it’s then used to purchase new investment as agreed to by you.

An in cash transfer is often recommended if your current investment holdings are proprietary and are not available or being offered at the receiving institution.

A potential downside to in cash transfers is if you are selling off your assets when prices are temporarily depressed – you could be hit with a significant loss!

Steps

  1. Ensure you have clarified your reason for transferring your registered account to another financial institution. Transfers can potentially be costly and should be done only when necessary.
  2. Print off a copy of your most recent investment statement. This will show what assets you own and their approximate value.
  3. Approach the institution where you are moving your account to and find out details on: how long the process will take, if you are able to do an “in kind” or “in cash” transfer, if they are willing to cover transfer-out fees charged by your current provider, and if there are any other applicable fees.
  4. Once the transfer form is submitted, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to process it. Follow up with your new provider to confirm when your transfer has been completed.

Transferring Your RRSP, TFSA, RESP, and RRIF between Financial Institutions

Transfer Forms

Form T2033 is generally used for direct RRSP and RRIF transfers. Financial institutions usually have their own in-house designed form that can be used to transfer several registered accounts including RRSPs, TFSAs and RRIFs. These forms capture the same information required by government transfer forms.

For RESP’s, a three-part form (A, B, and C) is required. RESP Transfer Form A is completed by the subscriber (you), while the receiving and relinquishing financial institutions complete forms B and C respectively. Your new provider will provide you with the accurate form to fill.

Information generally required on the forms include:

  • Transferring institution’s name and address
  • Receiving institution’s name and address
  • Account holder’s name and address (for RESP’s, subscriber and beneficiary information is required)
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Account or policy number of existing account
  • Transfer type – in cash or in kind
  • Type of assets in holding – GIC’s, mutual funds, etc.
  • Authorization for transfer – signature and date

Transfer Fees

Transfer fees charged by the financial institution transferring your account varies – up to $135 plus tax in 2017. Fee examples include:

Depending on the size of your account, you can negotiate with the receiving financial institution to cover some or all of the transfer fees. Foe example, RBC Direct Investing will cover fees up to $135 for registered account transfers to RBC of $15,000 or more.

Closing Thoughts

Transferring your registered investment accounts from one bank or discount brokerage to another is not as difficult as it appears. The receiving institution (your new bank) will complete most of the paperwork on your behalf and contact the relinquishing institution (your old bank) directly.

Transfer fees can be a bummer. It doesn’t hurt to negotiate with the receiving institution and ask if they will cover some or all of the costs.

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