Transferring Money Between Registered Accounts

The Questrade homepage. Unlike other discount brokerages,
there are no limits to which ETFs are free to buy.
About a month ago, I opened a Questrade TFSA account. At the time, I had a Tangerine TFSA Mutual Fund account and the low fees with ETFs (calculated around 0.2% MERs compared to Tangerine's MER of 1.07%) were an incentive to switch. I remember reading this somewhere, I forgot where, but for the average Canadian (who pays upwards of 2% for MERs), Tangerine is a good enough option for investing. However, as the Loonie IT Guy looking to retire early, I'm not looking for good enough. In addition to low MERs, Questrade* is offering free ETF purchases with commissions only when selling ETFs. I didn't feel that was a problem. As a long term investor, I'm not interested in selling. Of course, there were issues. I had about $8,000 in the Tangerine account and my available contribution room was less than that.

As most of you know, the way a TFSA works is that the government grants you contribution room each year to deposit money in these accounts. Any room you do not use gets carried over to future years. If you withdraw money from a TFSA, you need to wait until the next year to get the contribution room back. If you take out $5,000 today, assuming you maxed out your TFSA contributions, you will not be able to deposit the money until January 1, 2015.

If I took the money out of the Tangerine account directly, I wouldn't have been able to deposit the full $8,000 into the Questrade account until January 1, 2015. That's missing growth from compounding interest for approximately 6 months.

Fortunately, there is an alternative. The government allows transfers between your own TFSA accounts as long as the financial institution that holds your account initiates the transfer. Basically, you just fill out a form that details the information of your current TFSA account and the details of the new TFSA account and send that to the financial institution where you want to transfer the funds. They will handle the rest.

In this case, I went online to the Questrade website, entered the information on the form, and they supplied me with a filled in form to mail back to them. According to their website, the transfer would take 4-6 weeks. The transfer was completed last week, for a total of 28 days or 4 weeks. Not bad. Of course, going online to read other people's experiences with Questrade is a little frightening. I'd advise against it. My experience with Questrade thus far has been pleasant.

The same rules apply to money in RRSP accounts. Except if you withdraw the money, you will get taxed at the source, the money withdrawn is considered income (since money deposited reduces your net income for the year), and you never get the contribution room back. I've done a few RRSP transfers in the past. Now that Questrade successfully completed the TFSA transfer, I will do some more transfers with my RRSP accounts.

*Questrade is also offering rewards to referrals. Essentially, $25 for each referral. $50 bonus for every third one. The person being referred also gets a bonus depends on how much they fund in their account. The person has 90 days to fund the account and receive the appropriate bonus. There are also codes online that allow for $50 in free trades. A simple Google search will find such codes.


  1. Hello,

    I read a comment of yours on Mr Money Mustache blog which explained how to open an account for TD e-series. This brought me to your blog and this article.

    I have a question; I have all my RRSP accounts with Investors Group and I want to transfer everything in TD e-series.

    Will the TD person help me do that and are they usually willing to pay the penalties (from Investors) ? I have about 315 000$ to transfer.

    I would much rather go the Easy Web route as I am already a customer, but I guess that I have to go to the branch to open an e-series account because of the transfer.

    Will they really give me a hard time if I say that I want an e-series account?



    1. Hi Chantal,

      Thanks for reading!

      Sorry it took this long to reply... long weekends and all the pleasures that come with that.

      It sounds like you don't have an investment account with TD yet. If you're already an Easy Web customer, I believe you can open an account online. I'm not 100% sure about that. Once the account is open, you'll need to fill in a form (this one and send it to TD to convert your account to an e-series account. (If you do it at the branch, you can let them send the form through internal mail transfer.)

      As for transferring your RRSP from IG to TD, here's a help page on TD that should be relevant.
      I've done a few transfers, mostly straightforward. Usually, the institution receiving the money just needs to know which account the money is going to and where the money is coming from. Things like sending institution, account numbers, addresses, broker (if applicable), etc. With $315,000 to transfer, I'm certain TD will pick up the transfer fees, but you'll need to check with someone at TD.

      Additionally, it appears you can visit the branch and have them help you with the transfer or DIY from home. I think if you already have an e-series account open, you can transfer the money to a money market fund until you're ready to allocate the money to the e-series funds.

      As for giving you a hard time, that was my experience the first time I tried to open an account. This was also the experience of many others from what I read on the Internet. I would recommend booking an appointment with one of their financial representatives and indicate the reason is that you wish to open an RRSP investment account and would like to convert it to an e-series account (if you don't do it yourself at home). When you show up for the appointment, just let this person know before they start working with you. The representative I had the second time (after I booked an appointment) was appreciative that I let her know ahead of time my intentions; She didn't have to waste time selling me something I wasn't going to do anyway.

      I hope this helps.

      Good luck!

  2. This will really help thanks a lot!


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