Be Forewarned: Move Your RESP BEFORE You Want to Make a Withdrawal

We started our RESP at a bank then eventually transferred it to a discount brokerage. If and when our children ever get old enough and wise enough to want to use the money, we will have to decide whether to leave it at the brokerage or whether to move it back to a bank. Withdrawal fees will likely play a role in our decision. However while researching another RESP matter, I read a rule that surprised me. It may be important to know about this rule and move your RESP funds to another institution if you want to before you make your first AIP withdrawal.

Can I Transfer my RESP to Another Institution?

While you’re saving, contributing and receiving grants in your RESP, the answer is usually yes. For example, we moved our RESP from BMO to BMO InvestorLine.

However, the government itself limits your ability to transfer your RESP once you start to take money out of it!

You Can’t Transfer a RESP After This Point

According to a guide posted on the Employment and Social Development Canada website:
“RESP transfers are not permitted once an Accumulated Income Payment (AIP) has been made from the transferring RESP. See Chapter 3-3: Options for Assets Remaining in the RESP.”

An accumulated income payment is a withdrawal from the RESP of some of the interest, dividends or capital gains accumulated in the plan.

How stringently is this rule enforced? I don’t know. I have no personal experience with it.

I just thought I would share this now for people to consider and perhaps follow-up with their institution if they were planning to shift their RESP assets once they begin withdrawing from their plan.


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Have you tried to transfer a RESP after you started making withdrawals? Was it possible? Please share your experiences with a comment.