Thursday, June 9, 2011

Success #2: Rebalancing RRSP TD e-Series Mutual Funds for More Exposure

Last year, I recognized that my mutual fund fees were too high, and I switched my units over to the TD Canadian Index and TD Canadian Bond e-Series mutual funds. Since then, my investments have been doing well. However, I decided that since the S&P/TSX Index focuses a lot on financials, energy and mining, it might be a good idea to broaden my investment exposure. After all, true couch potato index investing states that one should invest in everything and diversify as much as possible. The S&P 500 (which the TD US Index e-Series fund tracks) has a pretty good balance across sectors that I wasn't exposed to with just the Canadian Index fund. I also decided to allocate a little bit of my portfolio to the TD International Index e-Series fund to get some exposure there as well.

Overall, I decided on the following balance between e-Series funds: 40% TD Canadian Bond, 30% TD Canadian Index, 20% TD US Index and 10% TD International Index. I did some reading on the experiences others had had with rebalancing their TD e-Series funds, and I came across a very useful spreadsheet:

If you Google search for switching fees regarding the TD e-Series funds, you will find many forum posts discussing the issue. I seem to have found an approximately equal amount of people that say the mutual fund units are First In, First Out (FIFO) and some say Last In, First Out (LIFO). With e-Series units, one cannot sell them before 90 days have passed since purchase without incurring a penalty fee for frequent trading. This includes units purchased through a Pre-authorized Purchase Plan (PPP). If the units are sold FIFO, that would mean that the most recently-bought units would be sold first. If the units are sold LIFO, the least recently-bought units would be sold first.

In my case, the units seem to have been sold LIFO, where the oldest units were sold first. I have made PPP purchases in the last 90 days, but the full dollar amounts that I transferred to the two new funds correspond exactly with their book values. I didn't see any kind of fee of 2% of the transfer balance.

Since I now have four different e-Series funds, I tried to figure out how I could contribute to them evenly, while keeping my RRSP contributions fairly low. I don't want to contribute too much to my RRSP since I'll have to start paying off my university student loans next year, and I still have one year of school left to do (tuition to pay, books to buy, etc.). Before, I contributed the minimum PPP amount ($25) to each of my two e-Series funds every month. Now however, I have 4 funds to contribute to. Even with the minimum PPP amount, I would be paying $100/month into my RRSP to contribute to each fund equally. This is more than I can handle, so I tried to see if there was an "every two months" option on the PPP form on TD EasyWeb's website. There wasn't, so I decided to call them and see if they could set something up for me. Unfortunately, whatever options are on the web form are the only PPP options. So I guess for now, I'll leave my two PPP transactions as is, and re-balance some of the units of those funds to the other two every 90 days or more.

Something strange I noticed about the e-Series funds is that I both sent an email and then an eService message to TD with regard to my PPP inquiry, and in both cases the reply was that "we are not trained in mutual funds, please call TD". I thought the point of e-Series funds was that they were to be managed online and online only. I really hope they don't try and revoke my e-Series agreement, but if they do, I'll point out how I tried twice to contact them through online means.

1 comment:

  1. I know this is a couple years old, but you have the terms LIFO and FIFO swapped. FIFO is when the oldest units are sold first, LIFO is when the newest units are sold first.