Friday, April 13, 2012

Transferring TD Mutual Fund RRSP Account to Questrade Self-Directed RRSP

About six months ago, I decided that I wanted to get more actively involved in picking individual stocks using a value investing approach and that my TD mutual fund RRSP account was not enough for me. I looked at converting to a TD Waterhouse account, but it had an annual fee of $100 and cost $30 per trade. Since I'm just starting out as an investor, I want to conserve as much money as possible, so I decided to transfer my RRSP account to a Questrade self-directed RRSP with no annual fee and only $5 per trade. I already have a TFSA trading account with Questrade and hadn't had any problems with them, so I decided it would be a good move to have my RRSP with Questrade as well.

After waiting until I could sell my TD mutual fund units without incurring an early trading fee, I moved everything to a money market fund with no early penalty fees and initiated a transfer. The first step was to open a Questrade RRSP account. You are allowed to have more than one RRSP account, you just can't contribute more than your total allowed annual contribution limit between the two accounts. I finished the Questrade RRSP application up to the point where you need to fund the account. Then I found the appropriate transfer form from Questrade's website. It will even fill out all your new account information for you, and you just need to provide the details of the relinquishing institution. I didn't need to contact TD in any way at this point.

Once Questrade initiated the transfer, they informed me that the transfer would take 10-20 business days (which translates to about a month). So I patiently began waiting, and researched stocks and read about value investing while I waited. TD and Questrade were true to their word and took the most amount of time possible before I would start to get impatient. Exactly one month plus a day, I logged on to my TD online banking and the RRSP account had been sold out and closed. I thought I might have to make a separate request with TD to close the account, but it turns out they did that for me. But when I checked Questrade, expecting to see my RRSP balance, I instead found that the transfer had been rejected.

According to Questrade, the relinquishing institution said that the account number was invalid. I found that confusing because the account was closed according to TD EasyWeb. Questrade said they could re-initiate the transfer (which would take another 10-20 business days) if I sent them an account statement with my name, address, and account number on it. I uploaded a scanned copy of the document and waited a couple more days. Nothing was changing, so I called TD. They said that my RRSP was closed and that they had no other information. So I called Questrade and told them the situation, and they looked into the problem.

Apparently the account was transferred to Penson financial (who provides holding services for Questrade), but the transfer could not be completed to Questrade because of the account number. What happened was the following. When I was filling out the transfer request form on Questrade's website, I wrote in the full 10-digit RRSP account number that I saw in TD EasyWeb. When I checked my account statement, the account number was only 7 digits. What I actually needed was just the last 7 digits, which is what caused all the trouble.

So after Questrade opened a ticket for me and reviewed my uploaded account statement, two days later I was informed that my Questrade account was funded and that I could begin trading. Before initiating the transfer over a month ago, I Google searched a bit to see what kind of transfer fees TD would charge me for moving my account to another institution. From what I found, I was expecting that TD would take about $100 from my RRSP in fees. To my delightful surprise, I found that they didn't take a cent!

So now my self-directed RRSP with Questrade is funded, and I'm ready to do some value investing!