How to Transfer Your RRSP to Another Financial Institution

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Have you ever wondered how to transfer your RRSP to another financial institution? It’s a legit question if you’re considering a change. Some people may prefer to have all their finances with a single bank, while others are likely tired of fees or lack of returns from their current financial advisor/financial institution.

At first glance, switching your Registered Retirement Savings Plan may appear difficult. If you’re not careful, you could end up making withdrawals that could trigger tax implications. You would also likely have to pay a fee when you close your accounts. However, porting your Registered Retirement Savings Plan to somewhere else is a surprisingly easy process. Generally, all you need to do is sign one form with your new financial institution, and they’ll take care of the rest. It’s that easy!

How to transfer your RRSP

  • Open a new RRSP at another financial institution or discount brokerage
  • Fill out the paperwork and have the new financial institution request an RRSP transfer from your old financial institution
  • Choose between transfer in kind or transfer in cash
  • Initiate the transfer
  • Wait for the funds to arrive at your new financial institution

To get your RRSP transferred to another financial institution or discount brokerage, all you need to do is fill out the paperwork to authorize them to move the funds over. This sounds simple enough, but you should do a few other things to prepare for the transfer.

First, grab the most recent statement from your investments and bring it to the new financial institution. They’ll basically want to know if you want to do a transfer “in kind,” where you can literally just move your investments to them as is (when available) or if you want them to “sell” all your investments so you can start fresh with the “cash” from the sale. An “in cash” sale is mandatory if you’re moving your money to a financial institution that doesn’t offer the same investments as your previous one. You’d basically sell your old investments at fair market value and then reinvest in something else at your new financial institution.

This in kind or in cash transfer is arguably the most important part. Since the new financial institution is requesting a transfer from your old RRSP to your new RRSP, no taxes will apply. What that means is that you can’t just withdraw your finds on your own and then redeposit it into your new accounts. There’s a specific process that needs to be followed. If you did it any other way, it would trigger withholding taxes that would affect your income tax return.

Now the institution you’re leaving won’t be happy once they find out you’ve triggered the transfer, but they really have no say at this point. What they can do is charge you a transfer fee which should be posted on their website. The good thing is that the receiving institution will usually cover that fee for you up to a certain amount so ask them about it before you sign.

The transfer can take some time but you still want to ask your new financial institution about when you should expect your funds to arrive. Monitor your account and if your money hasn’t arrived by the time they said it would; make a follow-up call. While rare, your old financial institution may be holding things up.

Once your money is in your new account, you can start investing. Alternatively, your new institution can start investing on your behalf. Be mindful of the RRSP deadline if you want to transfer things in advance. The deadline is 60 days after the start of the new year, but transfers can take weeks to complete.

Note that since you’re just transferring funds, your available RRSP contribution room is irrelevant. You’re not adding any new funds to your RRSP, so there’s no to worry about how much space you have left.

Should you transfer your RRSP?

People who are seriously considering transferring their RRSP (or any investments, for that matter) usually aren’t satisfied with how their money is currently being handled. Making a switch just because your investments haven’t been performing well is probably a bad idea. Why? Because markets change all the time, so you need to stick to your plan (assuming you’ve got an actual investment plan).

Admittedly, changing financial institutions just to lower your management expense ratio (MER) is often worth it. For example, let’s say you’re paying an average MER of 2.5% for a mutual fund. If you switched to an all-in-one ETF, the MER is usually below .50%. That’s a 2% savings that could translate to tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars over the course of your investment life.

Questrade’s entire marketing campaign is based around lower fees, and I admit, it’s probably worth making the switch. That said, you need to have the right mindset before you make any changes. Switching just because your investments haven’t been performing well in the last few months is a bad idea. Why? Because markets change all the time, so you need to stick to your plan (assuming you’ve got an actual investment plan). However, if your investments are constantly performing below market averages, then you should switch.

Another instance where you may need to transfer your RRSP is when you’re changing employers. If you were part of their group plans, you likely wouldn’t have access anymore if you leave the company. This would require you to move your money out. Fortunately, as you’ve already, it’s easy to make a transfer since it can be done in a lump-sum.

Note that if you’re looking to transfer your Registered Pension Plan (RPP) to your RRSP or you want to convert your RRSP to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), it’s a slightly different process that requires a bit more paperwork. Basically, when you leave an employer with a defined benefit pension plan, your plan administrator will provide you with different options for your money. How much you can transfer to your RRSP/RRIF/LIRA will depend on your years of service, a formula that determines your pension income, and what contribution room you have available. The paperwork you get after leaving will be quite clear, so there shouldn’t be any confusion. 

When should you transfer your RRSP?

Let’s assume that you’ve already decided you want to switch. There’s really no reason to delay things. Don’t try to time the market so you’re selling high and then buying low after the switch. Just stick to your investment plan, whatever that may be.

One thing that might hold you back is any fees associated with transferring your funds. Some mutual funds have deferred sales charges which will cost you a percentage of your portfolio when you make the transfer. There’s no denying that these fees suck, but the amount you’ll save in the MER difference could pay for itself after a few years. Note that DSC fees have been banned in Canada, so they’re no longer a major concern.

If you’re switching from an employer plan, you may have a set deadline to move things out, which is why you don’t want to delay things.

Before you make the switch, you’ll need to decide where you’re sending the money. Is your goal to use a robo-advisor since it’s a low-maintenance, no fee solution? Justwealth has become one of the most popular robo advisors in Canada, and they’ll even give you up to $500 for free if you sign up with my referral link. Wealthsimple gives people $50 when they sign up. What’s great about robo advisors is that they’re transparent and don’t require any effort on your end.

Some people will prefer to manage their finances on their own, but that will require you to know what you’re doing. This may sound intimidating, but if I learned to manage my finances on my own, so can you.

When not to transfer your RRSP

In a few situations, you might not want to transfer your RRSP or you might not be allowed to at all.

If your employer offers some kind of RRSP matching program or has a group rate for investments, there’s a good chance that you’ll be forced to keep your money invested with a specific financial institution or brokerage. This may be annoying, but considering you’re getting a match or access to funds which cost less, I think you’re actually coming out ahead.

As mentioned above, you shouldn’t transfer your RRSP just because you’re disappointed with the performance. I did this years ago before doing my research and ended up with an advisor with a financial institution that put me in overpriced mutual funds.

Finally, if you recently purchased investments that have a holding period, you shouldn’t make a transfer right away. Just wait for the holding period to end so you can avoid paying any additional fees. For example, with the Home Buyers Plan, you need to have your money in your RRSP for at least 90 days for it to qualify. If you need that money, you’re better off leaving it in.

Final thoughts

Transferring your RRSP to another financial institution is simple; you just want to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Once you’ve committed, take the time to ensure that everything is the way you want it to be so you don’t end up switching again in a few years. Note that if you’re looking to transfer your TFSA to another financial institution, it works in a very similar way, but you have a few additional options.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Vito on May 16, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    Hey Barry,

    Good article, I’m actually in the process shortly to move my traditional mutual fund RRSP from my bank to Questrade, because of the high fees and start DYI. Only one issue is that some institutions will only cover a certain amount as you wrote, but also will only do it if the amount transferred is a certain threshold. Questrade for example, will cover I believe its up to $150 but the minimum transferred has to be $25K or more.

    • Bradley on November 22, 2019 at 1:51 PM

      Hey Vito I’m actually going through this process right now. Right now I have a few different RRSP and TFSA accounts through TD. I was thinking of getting them to consolidate all of the RRSP’s to an RRSP savings account and then transferring all of that to Questrade. If I do it that way do you think it’ll avoid fees? Or is it unavoidable? I don’t have $25K in RRSP funds to get Questrade to waive this.

    • Robert on March 6, 2021 at 7:07 PM

      Hey Barry,

      I was getting no where transferring my RRIF out of RBC to another institution.

      After 6 months of emails, phone calls, in person meetings nothing happened.

      I finally complained to the RBC ombudsmen.

      After that RBC made the transfer happen almost instantly.


      • Barry Choi on March 7, 2021 at 6:39 AM


        I’m sad to hear that things took so long but at least the ombudsman did their job.

  2. Gabi on August 23, 2017 at 8:50 PM

    Before I was financially savvy I had my kids RESP’s at a FI in essentially a savings account. I was reviewing the documentation a few years back and for the 6 years they were there they were only earning 1% interest. For the last 5 years they have been earning an average of 10% now that I understand what I am doing.

    • Barry Choi on August 23, 2017 at 9:00 PM


      I can’t believe your previous FI left your kids RESP in a savings account. You would think it would be in their own best interest to at least put it in a mutual fund since they would give them a commission. You should have at least got the CESG.

    • Francis on August 18, 2020 at 12:54 AM

      I have a rrsp from rbc and invested it for a year. Since this year they are not giving a much higher interest rate compared to credit union. I decided to transfer my rrsp. However, after a month of waiting the credit union informed me that rbc dont want to transfer my rrsp to them because it already exceeded its maturity date. Is it even allowed?

      • Barry.Choi on August 18, 2020 at 5:43 AM


        If your credit union has put in a formal request to transfer your funds from RBC, RBC can’t deny them it.

  3. Coby on December 8, 2018 at 1:16 PM

    Hello, I have recently come into a little money and am looking to place into an RRSP. I have to move the money rather quickly so I am not sure I have the time to do much for research and meet with an investor. I currently have 2 RRSP accounts right now, both at FIs. I was thinking about just dumping it into one of those to buy some time to really figure out what I am going to do long term. Then when I build the strategy, with the help of a professional, I may look to transfer the funds into a different RRSP account. Would you consider this a sound interim plan? I am wondering whether it is easy to transfer around 100k out of on RRSP to another without taking to much of a service hit from a Canadian bank?

    • Barry Choi on December 8, 2018 at 3:48 PM

      Hi Coby,

      Is there a reason you need to move your money rather quickly or do you mean you need to make a deposit soon? There’s nothing wrong with parking your money in a high interest savings account or money market fund within your RRSP until you decide to consolidate your accounts later. When you’re ready to transfer your finds, your new institution should request a transfer in kind from your old institution so you don’t pay any withdrawal taxes.

      • Coby on December 9, 2018 at 11:29 AM

        Hello Barry,
        I have to move the money by a certain date or I am forced to take an alternative pathway with the funds. I want to slide into an RRSP to gain the tax benefits as I have some room in my RRSP maximum allocation. The remainder i will move into a TFSA. I just want to make sure I am not locked in in any way to the RRSP account and would be able to move it around I to another differently managed RRSP at a later date.

        • Barry Choi on December 9, 2018 at 7:08 PM

          Hi Coby,

          As long as you’re not putting your money into a fund with a deferred sales charge within your RRSP or a set term, you shouldn’t be locked in. Both Money market funds and high interest savings accounts within RRSPs are a good place to park your money until you’re ready to do something with your money.

        • Brad on February 17, 2019 at 2:09 PM

          Hi Barry

          I contributed to a spousal RRSP for my wife, we now want to move this to another financial institution. Is transferring a spousal RRSP any different to the steps you described for a regular RRSP.

          • Barry Choi on February 17, 2019 at 4:25 PM


            It should be the same.

          • bambie on July 14, 2021 at 11:09 AM

            TD is requesting Notice of Withdrawal for my RRSP. from RBC. From what i understand, the transfer of my RRSP from RBC to TD wont happen until i provide TD this. Is this process required? it’s past 33 business days. thanks

          • Barry Choi on July 14, 2021 at 12:29 PM


            TD Should have put in the request to RBC. I’m not sure why RBC is taking so long. IF TD is saying it’s RBC’s fault, you should check with them.

  4. Darlene on February 21, 2019 at 1:04 AM

    I have RRSP investments that is linked to SNC Lavalin. There is a lot of media coverage of SMC being involved in some kind of criminal wrong doing. I am only a few months away from my retirement age of 65. I was thinking about transferring my RRSP to a differant institution, do you advise this under these circumstances?

    • Barry Choi on February 21, 2019 at 4:45 PM


      Their involvement in a possible scandal wouldn’t affect your RRSPs unless you happen to have a lot of their stocks. I wouldn’t worry too much about it if you have a diversified portfolio.

  5. Bjanka on March 6, 2019 at 12:13 AM

    I was trying to consolidate my account over a year and would be trapped between the financial institutions in long-exosting process where I would have some losses. In last 5 months. The company I was trying to consolidate my accounts to called me home and ask me to transfer out all my accounts otherwise will be placed a restriction on accounts. They said they spend a lot of time with me. The real reason is in complain I had on prior transfer where they override my instruction in Kind to be in cash end extended the written commitment transfer will be completed within 2 weeks.
    This last transfer last over a month where old company trapped me with partial transfer and new company do not update Average stock cost, and accounts missing some stocks which had been transferred. I do not know what tax implication this will have. I did not receive any document confirmation of what was transferred and what was received. I need legal advice and contact with Lawyer who would take the case. Thank you

  6. Luiza on April 13, 2019 at 12:26 AM

    Hi !when I bought my first house I borrowed my RRSP money and now I have to pay for 15 years, can I transfer my RRSP in another bank ? Thank you!

    • Barry Choi on April 13, 2019 at 10:22 AM


      Yes you can still transfer your RRSP to another financial institution. You would still need to pay back your RRSP from the HBP otherwise it will be considered income.

  7. Brad on April 21, 2019 at 11:23 AM

    One good reason to transfer RRSPs is the fact that most large institutions do not show you how much they charge you for fees. There are a wide array of fees in the industry to choose from. The lack of transparency regarding to fees we pay is criminal.

    Find lower fees people….you pay institutions to manage your money and they really don’t do the work required, but charge you high fees over years and years.

  8. Terry Dubois on April 26, 2019 at 5:18 PM

    Hello Mr. Choi: I have been reviewing your site. I am receiving an Omers Pension. Omers has a great RRSP vehicle called an AVC. (Additional Voluntary Contributions). The annual fee is $35, no matter what value is held in the account. I would like to transfer my RRSP holdings from my FI to the AVC. This will ensure no more MER that reduce my portfolio. I want to avoid any transfer fees or fees applied to funds that may not be mature. How can I ensure this with my present FI ?? I have paid much to often in 30 years. Thank you

    • Barry Choi on April 26, 2019 at 6:07 PM


      You’d have to check with OMERS to see if they pay for any transfer fees that your current FI may charge, but I suspect they will not. You also need to find out if your current FI charges any fees by redeeming your mutual funds early. You’re looking for things such as deferred sales charges.

      Note that Omers will likely still charge fees for the mutual funds, but they’ll likely be lower than your current FI.

  9. Terry on April 26, 2019 at 9:08 PM

    Mr. Choi: thanks for your response. The AVCs are in an RRSP. The total annual fee is only $35. That is my concern is to avoid the charges stemming from the FI in the transfer process. I will try to determine if there are any DSC or mutuals in the RRSP that are not mature. Thank you.

  10. KENNETH on June 15, 2019 at 3:37 PM

    I have two banks that hole my RRSP’s I now live or have a temp. visa out of Canada. Is there a problem moving my RRSP?

    • Barry Choi on June 15, 2019 at 7:37 PM


      What do you mean by moving your RRSP? Do you want to move it to another financial institution within Canada or are you looking to withdraw it completely?

  11. Wayne on July 23, 2019 at 8:28 PM

    I am in process of transferring a RRSP account to a discount brokerage account and asked to have it transferred “In Kind”. I have recently been told that my current investment advisor will only transfer the account In Cash. Am I not allowed to transfer In Kind? Is there an advantage(to me), to have it transferred a certain way? Can they force me to transfer In Cash only?

    • Barry Choi on July 23, 2019 at 8:32 PM


      Transferring in cash is the only option available if your old RRSP was in funds that the new brokerage does not have access to. E.g. bank or investment group mutual funds. But let’s say you were invested in ETFs that are available via any brokerage, then you would be able to transfer your shares over to your new brokerage. The advantage would be that you don’t need to sell and buy again.

      In your scenario, it appears you don’t have a choice but to transfer in cash. It’s normal, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

  12. Wayne on July 23, 2019 at 8:48 PM

    Thank-you Barry. It is mutual funds I am wanting to transfer, so that I can buy shares in a company. Are there tax implications to doing this?

    • Barry Choi on July 24, 2019 at 8:22 AM


      As long as you transfer your RRSP from the old institution to your new one in kind/cash there would be no tax implications. In other words, don’t withdraw your money from the old RRSP on your own, and then deposit it into your new one. That’s when there would be taxes.

  13. KEN FORD on August 5, 2019 at 2:12 PM

    I feel like I have been taken by TD bank so I want to transfer my RRSP out to another bank. However, I live out of country now.

    • Barry Choi on August 5, 2019 at 2:16 PM

      You could look into transferring your RRSP to a robo advisor such as JustWealth or WealthSimple. You don’t need to go in person to set it up and you would likely reduce the amount of fees you pay.

  14. victoria on August 5, 2019 at 11:15 PM

    Hi Barry,

    So if 4 of my mutual funds is a DSC kind and it hasn’t matured yet can I transfer out the other 3 to my Qtrade account and then wait for the other one to mature before transferring it out later? Thanks.


  15. victoria on August 5, 2019 at 11:16 PM

    Sorry, I mean if one 1 of my 4 funds is a DSC

    • Barry Choi on August 6, 2019 at 7:40 AM

      Hi Victoria,

      I’m pretty sure you should have no issue transferring just one of your funds out. That said, what % do you have on your DSCs and how long will it take to hit 0%? It may be worth it to rip that bandaid off right away. E.g. If the DSC is 5% and you’ve got three years left, but if you transfer right away and can save 1.5%-2% a year, you might be closer to breaking even than you realize.

      More importantly, you an just be done with your old financial institution. Now if you’re talking about a 6 figure sum, then it may be worth waiting.

  16. Sb on September 4, 2019 at 1:07 AM

    When you are charged a transfer fee, does it come off your rrsp amount? And if so, when reimbursed by the other financial institution, it goes back into the RRSP, so would that count as a withdrawal and a contribution? Like if you are transferring out $10000, then maybe $100 is taken off as a fee, then reimbursed.

    • Barry Choi on September 4, 2019 at 7:38 AM


      The transfer fee is separate and is not considered a withdrawal. The financial institution that’s receiving your funds will sometimes cover that fee for you up to a certain amount, but you need to check with them.

  17. Jess Tiquis on September 7, 2019 at 12:32 AM

    Hi Barry,

    I’ve met a someone working with Primerica and I am quite interested in RRSPs Investment. I just wanted to know if this is a good idea or a bad idea. I have about 10K in my account in a Community Savings Account and I feel like I wanted to invest to get the best out of money. What to do?

    • Barry Choi on September 7, 2019 at 4:00 PM


      Primerica is known as a multi-level Marketing scam otherwise known as a pyramid scheme. I would avoid using them. If you don’t believe me, just Google them.

      If you want to start investing, using a robo advisor is likely the easiest way these days.

  18. Jess Tiquis on September 7, 2019 at 6:06 PM

    That’s why I am doing my homework before jumping into it…

    I will look into ROBO Advisor. Thank you

  19. Jo-Anne on September 22, 2019 at 10:58 AM

    I heard that when the time comes that you must convert to an RRIF, if you hold RRSPs at two different institutions, they will both start the process of providing income to you based on the formula without knowledge of each other. Would it make sense to transfer all one’s RRSPs to one institution prior to the time you must convert to RRIFs to make it simpler and easier to control, or is having two accounts not a serious problem? I currently hold a ladder of GICs in a credit union which have higher deposit insurance limits than the banks and index equities in another.

    • Barry Choi on September 23, 2019 at 6:36 PM


      I personally don’t think it’s a huge issue to have separate retirement accounts but you do want to talk to a fee only investment advisor to ensure you’re making withdrawals properly to minimize taxes.

  20. Darwin Ayson on September 24, 2019 at 4:13 PM


    Quick question, I am planning to transfer my RRSP from a segregated fund (Empire Life) to Questrade. I know that my RRSP with Empire Life has DSC. Should I transfer it in cash or in kind? Also, is there a way to get around paying the DSC?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Barry Choi on September 24, 2019 at 9:22 PM


      You can’t really get around DSCs but if you’re switching to an index portfolio, you’ll probably pay lower fees in the long run. When you have Questrade transfer your funds in kind, they’ll convert it into cash since they can’t port it over to any similar funds compared to what Empire Life had.

  21. Edward Gutti on November 7, 2019 at 9:56 PM

    Hi Barry,
    The process you described in the article also applies to RRSP that are Locked-In (LIRA)? I am 67 and retired at 65.
    Thanks for throwing a light.

    • Barry Choi on November 8, 2019 at 7:45 AM

      Hi Edward,

      It should be the same.

  22. Nana on December 13, 2019 at 10:04 PM

    Hi Choi,
    I am thinking of moving my RRSP in a bank to another financial institution because of its extremely high MER. I think it can be moved “in kind” and then I will need to sell the mutual fund in order to switch to another mutual fund with lower MER by myself. What I am not sure about is, it is not considered withdrawal? I think withdrawal can cause me a penalty, so I am worried about it. Thank you so much.

  23. Ahmed on February 6, 2020 at 9:07 PM

    Hi Barry,
    Say I’ve maxed out my TFSA, but I still have some extra cash I want to invest. Is it possible to invest in Mutual Funds without being in a TFSA? or is there a better way to do it? I prefer to invest and get something better than 1% which the esavings account give. Thanks for your help!

    • Barry Choi on February 7, 2020 at 8:27 AM


      If you have extra funds, consider the following. Put it in a high interest savings account to increase your emergency fund, contribute to your RRSP, pay down your mortgage.

      High interest savings accounts pay 2.40*+ (EQ Bank), but you also need to think about what this money is for. If you plan on using it for something in the short term e.g. 1-5 years, I wouldn’t invest it.

  24. ahmed on February 7, 2020 at 3:18 PM

    Hi Barry,

    What is the penalty if you withdraw RRSP before 65?

  25. vicky minich on February 10, 2020 at 11:17 PM

    Hi Barry, when I last met with my advisor and we talked about me transferring my high fee A series mutual funds to my Qtrade account he told me I would pay the same fees there as I am with him. He was lying to me right? 3 of my funds are FEL and 2 are DSC. I know there are penalties attached with DSC’s. Can I wait until that period has expired to avoid paying the penalty and then transfer those 2 funds then. I would transfer my 3 other right away. Tx


    • Barry Choi on February 11, 2020 at 7:57 AM


      Your advisor isn’t technically wrong. If you moved to Qtrade, the fees for the mutual funds would be the same but you would in theory pay less in trading fees.

      With the DSC’s, how much in penalties would you pay and how long do you have left? Also, what is the management expense ratio of your current funds? Sometimes it might be close e.g. let’s say the DSC fee is currently at 3%, but if you can save 2% every year by becoming an index investor, that’s not so bad.

      It might be better to rip the bandaid off if you know what I mean. I don’t know your whole picture, but 5 funds seems like a lot.

  26. vicky minich on February 11, 2020 at 1:06 PM

    Thanks Barry, that clarifies that. Do you offer a service for analyzing one’s portfolio and then making recommendations? That would be extremely helpful at this stage of my life. So wish I had learned this stuff a long time ago. Thanks.


  27. vicky minich on February 13, 2020 at 2:02 PM

    Thanks Barry.

    Wealthsimple or Questwealth? Which of these 2 would you recommend? Tx


    • Barry Choi on February 13, 2020 at 2:47 PM


      They’re both similar, but Questwealth has lower fees

      • Munni on April 13, 2020 at 11:16 AM

        Good morning,

        Can my husband take some of his RRSP money transfer into my account, would he get charged to do that.

        • Barry Choi on April 13, 2020 at 1:02 PM

          Hi Munni,

          Your husband would be responsible for any withholding taxes as this would be considered an early withdrawal – and Resources/Money and Finances/Saving for retirement/The hidden costs of early RRSP withdrawals?vgnLocale=en_CA

  28. Juan Nochez on April 16, 2020 at 4:33 PM

    Hi Barry:

    If I switch my mutual funds in Kind for example to Questrade – I currently have my RRSP with an Financial Advisor and the funds that I have also carry a Trailing Commission Fee. The MER on my fund is 2.35% the DSC will end in 2024. Now my question is would I be paying Trailing Commission Fee to Questrade if I switch to them? or will that dissapear?
    Please let me know

    Thank You,

    • Barry Choi on April 16, 2020 at 4:35 PM


      When you switch your funds to Questrade, you’d probably sell your funds and it would be cash gets transferred to Questrade so you can invest in whatever you want.

      You would obviously pay the trailing fee by selling early, but you might actually break even or come out ahead if you’re switching to ETFs since the management fee would be much lower than 2.35%.

  29. Ryan G on April 22, 2020 at 9:05 AM

    Hi Barry, just wanted to start by thanking you for a great article.

    I currently have an rrsp and a tfsa mutual funds with an FI and also a Tsfa with TD where I manage my own stocks. I started with the FI when I was 18 as it was a easy way for me to consistently be putting money away set up by my grandma. Over the years I took interest into money management and have done better purchasing and managing my own money than the FI accounts. tFSA if for a house (hopefully purchase in the next two years), but I would like to move the rrsp over so I can manage it myself. I am 28 and still have a lot of room left in my tfsa to contribute. How do I go about getting that rrsp either transferred or sold so I can put it in my TD acc and manage it myself. Any suggestions for a way with the least amount of fees?

    Thanks again!

    Ryan G

    • Barry Choi on April 22, 2020 at 2:08 PM

      Hey Ryan,

      Thanks for reaching out and good on you for investing at such a young age.

      So I’m assuming you know that any funds meant for home down payment should be put in a High Interest Savings Account. Don’t invest that money since you need it soon.

      Moving your RRSP over to TD is easy and all you need to do is follow the steps in this article. Set up an account with TD and then get them to transfer your funds in kind. That might require the other FI to sell the funds before it gets transferred to TD. That’s normal and you would get the cash value. You may have the pay some back end fees depending on the fund you’re in, but I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Once the funds are in TD, you can do whatever you want.

      With your TFSA in the other FI, you have a few options. Let’s say you have enough contribution room to cover whatever you withdraw from the other FI. You could just sell/withdraw and then deposit it into your TFSA at TD.

      The other FI might charge you a separate fee since you’re moving the funds out, so check if TD will cover any of it. This fee would be separate from any back end fund fees.

  30. Lawrence Roy on April 23, 2020 at 1:28 PM

    I am currently in the process of transferring my rasps to another institution.
    Desjardins is refusing to transfer the portfolio in kind.I don’t understand why they can dictate the the terms to transfer my assets

    • Barry Choi on April 23, 2020 at 1:33 PM


      Is the Desjardins the new or old financial institution?

      If Desjardins is the old one, what they might mean is they need to sell your investments before they can transfer your funds to the new financial institution. This sometimes happens if you’re invested in funds that are exclusive to them.

  31. Lala on May 12, 2020 at 9:56 PM

    Hi, I want to transfer my RRSP AND Spousal RRAP to a new bank. This new bank I already have some money in a open RRSP, But do I have to Also open a spousal RRSP with my new bank before I proceed with the transaction?

    • Barry.Choi on May 13, 2020 at 6:43 AM


      Yes, you would need one with your new bank. Talk to your new bank and tell them about your intentions and they’ll walk you through everything.

  32. Patrick on July 1, 2020 at 8:01 AM

    Hi Barry,

    So I have RRSPs with Scotia. I am looking to transfer the RRSPs into ETFs (but still eligible for RRSP). I also have a Scotia iTrade account. Do I still need to fill in a form or can I just go ahead and sell the RRSPs and then purchase the ETFs via the iTrade account?

    • Barry.Choi on July 1, 2020 at 1:48 PM


      I believe Scotia iTrade is separate from Scotia so you still need to request a transfer, but since it’s the same company, things can be done much quicker.

      Also, since it’s the same company, they can likely do an in kind transfer. If you’re looking to change your investments, ask for in cash so then you can just use the proceeds and invest in whatever you want.

      • Matt on August 13, 2020 at 2:51 AM

        Hello Mr. Choi,

        I hoped you might help me with my current situation. I’ve recently been let go from my employer and have a decent chunk of money in a DPSP, as well as a smaller amount in a group rrsp match program. These are both sunlife. I’m not sure of what my options are with regard to transferring the dpsp amount into an rrsp or cashing out. Also, would it make more sense to pull out of sunlife completely and open an rrsp account with my personal FI? Any info/advice you could offer would be appreciated.

        • Barry.Choi on August 13, 2020 at 6:25 AM


          In regards to the DPSP, it really just depends on how the company has things set up. For example, I had a stock plan when I was with Rogers and they automatically liquidated everything upon me departing the company. That said, I had less than 5 shares since I had already liquidated. I suspect they’ll just keep everything in Sunlife and you can decide what to do with it later.

          Assuming you have the contribution room, you can transfer your stock to your RRSP but there are tax implications –

          As for your sunlife RRSP, transferring it to a different FI such as a robo advisor could be beneficial since you can likely lower your management fees.

  33. Jim on August 21, 2020 at 5:11 PM

    Hi there,

    I recently transferred one RRSP from a dormant account to my current RRSP institution.

    It was a direct transfer in and the funds transferred were not locked in.

    I would like to use the funds I transferred in and some that were already in my current account as part of the first time home buyers plan.

    The institution I transferred to says I cannot use the funds transferred in as the first time home buyers plan does not allow you to use funds contributed within 90 days.

    The funds were not a contribution, it was a transfer from one institution to another. And the funds transferred in were not contributed to in the past 2 years.

    Is there something I’m missing here? Do they count transfers as contributions?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Barry.Choi on August 21, 2020 at 9:12 PM


      You should be able to use your transferred in RRSP as part of the HBP. Someone posted a similar question on the turbotax forum

      • Jim on August 21, 2020 at 9:59 PM

        Thanks for your quick response, Barry!

        I know I can access the funds for the HBP. The issue I’m having is the timeline.

        I transferred the funds over in July and I close in Sept. Hindsight,
        I should have withdrawn the funds instead of transfer, but I didn’t realize they would consider it a contribution. Also didn’t know when an offer would have been accepted and wanted to access all funds at the same time from one institution.

        Does the the timeline of the transfer matters considering there were no contributions made to the RRP within the the past few years?


        • Jim on August 21, 2020 at 10:02 PM

          ** RRSP not RPP

  34. Chris on August 31, 2020 at 3:20 PM

    Hi there,
    I am wondering if I can transfer my LIRA portfolio where I pay high fees with Primerica to a robo-advisor with lower fees? If so, will there be penalties??
    Thanks in advance for your time

    • Barry.Choi on August 31, 2020 at 3:59 PM


      Although I haven’t done it myself, I don’t see why you can’t transfer from one LIRA account to another. You probably want to speak to the robo advisor of your choice and find out what the procedures are. There might be trailing fees depending on the fund that Primerica has you invested in.

  35. Chris on October 21, 2020 at 6:08 AM

    Hi Barry,
    I’d like to transfer my RRSP from Vancity to RRSP Questrade/Questwealth.

    1) Is the min $25k transfer to be eligible for up $150 to still applicable in 2020? I checked their T&Cs but it’s not there.

    2) Also, i read this in their T&Cs and am a bit concerned:
    “For Questwealth™ accounts, all-in-kind and partial transfers of your securities will be liquidated. Transfers from cash accounts may be subject to capital gains taxes or provide capital losses upon liquidation. Exchange and ECN fees may apply.”

    Since I’m doing a RRSP Vancity to RRSP Questwealth transfer, I won’t be subject to capital gains taxes/capital losses upon liquidation, right? I believe here they are referring to a credit/savings account transferring to a RRSP Questwealth, correct?

    Thank you!

    • Barry Choi on October 21, 2020 at 6:21 AM


      I’m not sure about Questrades rules when it comes to waiving fees and transfers so you’d have to check with them. As for capital gains/losses, you are correct. If you’re doing this as a transfer from your current RRSP to your new RRSP, it does not apply. They appear to be referring to any funds you may have in a taxable account that you’re transferring to your RRSP.

  36. Bryan Charoo on November 26, 2020 at 8:07 PM

    Hi , I purchased an RRSP via a RRSP credit Line with the Laurentien Bank of Canada.
    The RRSP has been purchased last year and I still have a balance to pay on the credit line.
    However considering the weak performance of their product, I would like to know if I could request a transfer or move my purchased RRSP to Questrade so I can invest my money
    on my own money.

    Can I still request this transfer with the balance owning ? And if I pay of the balance would that allow me to request the trasnfer. Thanks a million !

    • Barry Choi on November 26, 2020 at 8:36 PM


      I don’t see why not. As long as you’re meeting the payment requirements of the RRSP LOC, it shouldn’t matter.

      • Bryan Charoo on December 21, 2020 at 5:22 PM

        Hi Barry ! Thank you for the infomration and answer . I have initiated the transfer this morning.

  37. Brenda Lam on December 12, 2020 at 2:23 AM

    Hi Barry,

    I have an RRSP Account managed by investment adviser. I wish to transfer the assets to my new self-directed RRSP account in a bank. There are a few ‘Class F’ mutual funds (e.g. DYN1566, CIF823) in my account. Is it possible to transfer in-kind such mutual funds to my self-directed RRSP account?

    Thank you for all the information you’ve provided.

    • Barry Choi on December 12, 2020 at 7:22 AM

      Hi Brenda,

      You’d have to ask your new brokerage, but usually, Class F mutual funds can’t be transferred over. You’d have to transfer in cash and just purchase a low cost all-in-one ETF which likely has a lower MER than the mutual fund anyway.

  38. Brenda Lam on December 12, 2020 at 5:20 PM


    Thank you very much for the speedy reply. Knowing where one stands definitely helps to drive the right decision.


  39. Dena on January 16, 2021 at 8:31 AM

    Hi Barry

    I have $240000 in rrsps at Scotiabank and due to high MER I want to transfer to Questrade portfolio, I know I cant transfer in-kind because the portfolio will be managed for me at Questrade. But I wonder should I transfer it out all at once or do a little bit at a time Because it has to be transferred in cash. I’m just thinking if the market is down a lot and I transferred all at once so I could take a big hit . I’m about four years from retirement, this will be money in addition to my pension so it’s not my only money.

    • Barry Choi on January 16, 2021 at 8:41 AM

      Hi Dena,

      The MER is charged yearly so there’s no advantage of selling it bit by bit. If you’re worried about a market drop during the transfer, you could just sell everything now so it’s in cash before you initiate the transfer. That would guarantee no loss in value of your portfolio, but you would also miss out on any potential gains. If you’re four years from retirement, your portfolio should be slightly more conservative. That said, if you have a defined benefit pension, you’re likely in good shape.

      • Dena on January 16, 2021 at 1:08 PM

        Thank you Barry, if I sold my RRSPs and left them there in cash wouldn’t I still have to pay taxes on that amount? Or are you thinking that I will re invest with the new FI within the same tax year so that it will even out? I guess it’s really difficult to time the market and I could still potentially lose out.

        My current MER with Scotiabank is about 2% and when I switch to quest trade portfolios it will go down to under .4, which is quite significant to after a few years. I already started the process to transfer my TFSA to quest trade portfolio, which I put in a growth fund. I think I’ll plan to put my RRSPs into a balanced portfolio. I will still be left with about 160 some thousand which I don’t know what to do with. I keep getting advice to use up my a rrsps room, 35000, but the thought of the deferred tax stops me from doing that. Any other ideas?

        • Barry Choi on January 16, 2021 at 1:12 PM


          You can sell your RRSPs and just keep the cash in your RRSP. As long as you don’t withdraw the money, you’re not paying taxes. When you to do the transfer in cash, you’re just moving your RRSP from one account to another so no taxes apply. Note that although QT portfolios has a management fee of less than .4%. you’d still have to pay the ETF MER. All in, you’re still looking at less than 1%, so it’s still worth switching.

          Have you ever thought about speaking to a fee only financial planner to run the numbers for you? Since you’re near retirement, you likely want to have some numbers and scenarios projected.

  40. Dena on January 16, 2021 at 1:16 PM

    Yes I thought about talking to a Fee only financial advisor but I don’t know how to find one that’s not connected to mutual funds etc.

  41. Dena on January 16, 2021 at 1:38 PM

    Thank you very much Barry. I will check out those links

  42. Jagpreet Singh on January 29, 2021 at 4:39 PM

    I have recently used my RRSP money for First time home buying and now I am thinking of transferring this RRSP to another institute using in cash transfer way. Once it gets transferred to the new institute, I am going to add money to this transferred RRSP account. So this amount that I am going to add would be count towards Repayment of the money that I used for Home buying?

  43. Heather Todd on May 14, 2021 at 3:01 PM

    Hi Barry,

    We have RRSP’s in Quebec, but are now permanent residents in Ontario. Should I transfer my RRSP’s to Ontario before cashing them out?

    • Barry Choi on May 14, 2021 at 4:29 PM

      Hi Heather,

      RRSP withdrawals are taxed on your province of residence. I don’t think it matters if your RRSP is held in an institution located in another province.

  44. Carmen on October 11, 2021 at 8:10 AM

    Hi Barry
    I reside outside of Canada since Sept 2015. I have checking and saving TD Bank accounts as I lease out properties, I file yearly rental Income tax to which 25% is being deducted.
    I also have a SDRSP with TD Direct investing, used to be TD Waterhouse. Part of this SDRSP account is a RSP mortgage I am using to pay outstanding balance to one property.
    Few days ago I received a private message from TD Direct Investing stating that for people residing outside Canada they no longer provide investment services effective October 25, 2021.
    Arrangements need to be made to transfer the account(s) to another financial institution by that date.
    If I am not transfering the account by October 24, 2021, they will freeze the account(s) and only allow liquidating transactions and transfer out instructions.
    They reserve the right to close your account(s) at their discretion in accordance with your Account Services Agreement.
    Can you help please and advise, what does freezing account actually mean, is there a period a min or max period, how can it be unfrozen.
    Can the account be closed
    I really just want to pay the monthly mortgage til I willl relocate to Canada in another year, and trading can stop. Opening an RRSP account with another bank is challenging as I do not reside in Canada.

    • Barry Choi on October 11, 2021 at 8:46 AM

      Hey Carmen,

      So there are a few different things going. What do you mean by RSP mortgage? Do you mean you withdrew from your RRSP with the Home Buyer’s Plan, and you’re now repaying what you withdrew? Or are you making regular mortgage payments from a TD account (not your RSP)?

      Based on the wording you’ve given, freezing sounds like you just can’t put money in or make trades. Liquidating refers to selling any current investments you have and transferring out is straightforward.

      TD Can’t just close your account and keep your money. In theory, if they did, they would have to send you a cheque with your remaining balance. They would send it to the address on file.

      DO you have any family in Canada that you trust? You could in theory sign over power of attorney so they can help you manage things until you arrive.

      • carmen on October 11, 2021 at 8:59 AM

        Hi Barry,

        We used our RRSP to fund the mortgage, TD was offering this feature, not anymore. So we are actually paying us back into the SDRSP account. Part of the SDRSP funds are the mortgage investment, monthly gained interest, payment to the mortgage are made from a checking account
        The other part is cash and a TD COMM portofolio low risk .So all SDRSP parts are investments
        I would prefer not to go to the hassle and transfer into another bank RRSP considering i cannot fly to Canada for that.
        Being a nonresident one cannot deposit into SDRSP which I have not done, so depositing does not bother me. I just do not know how long the freezing can be on and what do I need to do to unfreeze it when I relocate to Canada.
        As of closing the account, hmm…can they do that…those are my RRSP I contributed to for over 20 yrs
        If they close the account I suppose I will be told…if they go that way, that means as they say, liquidations and payment as per instructions, but that means I will pay tax on the whole amount…that will be a big loss
        I do have a good friend that I can ask, having a POA done now in less than 2 weeks to the due date will be a challenge. Embassies are still not seeing face to face citizens.
        How realistic is it to transfer to another bank or brokerage RRSP, exactly how it is

  45. Victor on August 26, 2022 at 1:25 AM

    Hi Barry,

    Very interesting and informative article on the process of moving RRSPs. I have held an RRSP with Sunlife for about 3 years now and I am handling it myself separately. My new employer offers an RRSP matching program. I was wondering if I should transfer my current RRSP which has no such employer matching right now to this new one just because of having that contribution matching. What do you think in your opinion? Will it be advantageous to me long term or still keep investing privately without the employer matching?

    • Barry Choi on August 26, 2022 at 6:35 AM

      Hey Victor,

      First off, you should ALWAYS max out any match you’re getting from your employer. That’s free money.

      Any money transferred in wouldn’t get a match, but you’d be able to consolidate. If your new plan has funds that you would have invested in yourself anyways, you might as well transfer your old RRSP over. By doing this, you can take advantage of compound interest/dividends.

      However, let’s just say your employer only gives you access to funds with high fees. Depending on your investment strategy, it may be better to keep your existing Sunlife funds separate.

      ALWAYS take the employer match.

  46. Mark M on December 31, 2022 at 3:10 PM

    Hi Barry,
    A couple of posters have asked a similar question but I’m still not sure on the answer, If I hold Series A&B (high MER) mutual funds with my current full service broker and want to switch to the same mutual fund with Questrade but a lower MER series F I’m assuming I would have to sell the series A and purchase the Series F even though its the same mutual fund

    • Barry Choi on December 31, 2022 at 3:24 PM


      Yes, that’s the case. But if you’re going to do that, it may be worth switching to a all-in-one ETF.

  47. Mike T. on March 18, 2023 at 5:33 PM

    Hi Barry,
    I browsed through all the Q&A from various people and found your answers offer wealth of information. However, I did not see a question about transferring RRSP partially to another financial institution.
    Situation is: I have TD Waterhouse RRSP account, holding Equity, GIC, Cash or Cash equivalent. I like to transfer x % of cash to another RRSP account of another institution, say RBC.
    Is above transfer possible without triggering a taxable RRSP withdrawal?
    Thank you in advance, Mike

    • Barry Choi on March 18, 2023 at 9:02 PM


      Yes, transfer in kind would still apply. You would just tell your new financial institution to transfer $X from your other RRSP.

      • Mike T. on March 19, 2023 at 12:45 AM

        Thank you for the feedback, very much appreciated.

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