How to Open a RESP Account at BMO InvestorLine

OK I admit freely I am a procrastinator. I’ve been meaning to open a RESP account at InvestorLine for over a year now. If I was opening a new, barely funded RESP, I would probably look into CIBC Investor’s Edge because they have no minimum balance required for a no-fee RESP account. Or I’d look at RBC Direct Investing with an automatic contribution of at least $100/month to avoid an account balance fee and to score $9.95 trades despite having a low balance. But I like InvestorLine slightly better and our RESP balance is above the $25 000 needed to avoid an annual fee and we have over $50 000 in various accounts there so we get trades at $9.95, so that’s where I decided to invest. If you are also interested, here’s how to open a RESP account at InvestorLine.


Some of you may ask, why open a self-directed brokerage account at all? Shouldn’t you just use a TD e-Series Funds account or open a brokerage account at a firm that lets you buy stock-index-mirroring ETFs for no fee?

Well, in our case we didn’t start a RESP till our eldest child was only about 8 years from needing the money. So we won’t be putting much into long-term stock market investments: there’s too much risk of a market downturn just before said child needs the cash. A self-directed brokerage account, however, lets us shop for GICs from several dozen financial institutions without having to physically move the money around and without having to pay any commissions. (Of course we can also buy stocks or ETFs if we want to within an InvestorLine account. We can’t buy TD e-Series Funds, though, as those are only available to TD Canada Trust EasyWeb and TD Waterhouse / Direct Investing Discount Brokerage customers.)

Information You’ll Need Before Opening a RESP at InvestorLine

I always find these applications contain unexpected questions which can slow down the entire process. Here’s some bits of info I didn’t expect to need when applying (and a few I expected but still needed to have handy.)

  • I needed to know both my and my spouse’s
    • annual income
    • net liquid assets
    • net fixed assets
    • estimated net worth
    • fixed monthly costs

    Be careful not to duplicate values; they’re expecting you to input your “share.”

  • If you have a BMO bank account, you’ll need
    • the transit number
    • the account number
    • the bank’s address

    This is to connect your account to your InvestorLine account for transfers. You do not have to have a BMO account to have an InvestorLine account.

  • For the Funding Your Account section, you will need to choose from the following list whether you will fund it from
    • saving employment income
    • an inheritance
    • real estate investments
    • investment in securities
    • gifts, or
    • other, which you must specify
  • You’ll need the Social Insurance Numbers for everyone connected to the account. For example I needed the SIN cards for myself, my husband and each of our children. (NOTE: You cannot apply for the grants from the government without a SIN for a child. Also, InvestorLine insists on receiving a copy of each of the SIN cards before it will fully activate a RESP account. For more information on what to do if you’ve misplaced your card, please see near the end of this article.)

To Start a RESP Self-Directed Investing Account at BMO InvestorLine

Because we have some accounts already with BMO InvestorLine, we were able to reduce our time typing in some of the basic name-and-address-type information. The forms, though, are essentially the same whether you have an existing account or not. In the following instructions it may say to “review the pre-filled information.” If you don’t have an InvestorLine account, you will have to type in the information for each of those fields.

  1. If you have one already (for example a RRSP or TFSA account), sign in to your BMO InvestorLine account.
  2. From the Account Services tab, select: Open an account.
  3. If you have a Promotion Code and/or a Refer a Friend Code, enter either or both in the fields shown. (For more information on these codes, please see the end of this article.)
  4. Click on the button: Open an account.
  5. Answer the question “What account would you like to open?” by clicking to select the radio button beside:
    • BMO InvestorLine self-directed; or
    • BMO InvestorLine adviceDirect

    Most people want the self-directed account. The adviceDirect account has a fee but provides some limited investing advice. If you’re not sure which kind you want, stop, research, and spend some time deciding before proceeding.

  6. Answer the question “What type of self-directed account would you like to open?” by clicking to select the radio button beside:
    Education Savings Plan (ESP)
  7. If you have more than one child or may have more than one child in the future, you probably want to select a Family Plan.
    Click to select the radio button beside
    ESP – Family Plan
  8. If you are married or in a legal common law relationship, you will probably want to set up the plan as Joint Subscribers. This means each of you can contribute to the RESP and In the future each of you can withdraw funds from the plan.
    Answer the question “For Education savings Plan, choose the plan you would like to apply for:”

    • One Subscriber; or
    • Joint Subscribers (married or common law only)

    Click on the button: Continue

  9. To read the information about the various types of government RESP grants, click on the + sign beside a heading on the Important note about RESPs screen.
    It appears that InvestorLine now supports:

    • CESG
    • Additional CESG. AESG
    • Canada Learning Bond, CLB
    • Quebec education savings incentive, QESI
    • Alberta Centennial Education Savings Grant, ACES

    It also says that InvestorLine can accept transfers-in of RESPs from other financial institutions that include the grants mentioned above.
    Click on the button: Continue

  10. You can stop and save your info and retrieve it later using the Application number and the password you select during this next step.
    1. In the Enter a password: text field, type a password for your application.
    2. In the Please confirm your password: field, type the password again.
    3. Make a note of your password. You’ll need it to re-open your application to print it, etc.
  11. Read and think about the next part carefully. It is asking you whether you authorize InvestorLine to use an Online Authentication process using data from Equifax Canada to help to identify you. You do not have to use this method to open an account if it bothers you.
    It also states that you will not need to have a credit check because you are requesting to open a registered account.If you agree to the credit check and/or online identity confirmation, click on the
    I/We authorize BMO InvestorLine to obtain personal and credit information about me/us from any source.
    Radio button.
  12. Click on the button: Start Application
  13. Write down your application number (and make a note of your application password if you might forget it!)

Completing the Online Application for a RESP Acccount

  1. Check the following pre-filled fields for existing InvestorLine customers; or type the information in the following fields:
    For the Applicant / Subscriber

    • Title
    • First Name
    • Middle Initial
    • Last Name
    • SIN
    • Date of Birth
    • Citizenship
    • Dual Citizenship?
    • Marital Status
    • Email Address
    • Preferred Language
      For the Applicant’s Spouse / Joint Subscriber
    • Title
    • First Name
    • Middle Initial
    • Last Name

    Address Information

    • Address
    • Suite/Apt #
    • City/Town
    • Province
    • Postal Code
    • Home Phone #
    • Secondary Phone #
    • Is the mailing address different?
      Yes
      No
    • Have you lived at your current address for less than 2 years?
      Yes
      No

    If desired, click on the Save button.

  2. When the information is correct, click on the button: Authenticate
  3. Read the Online Authentication questions and click on the appropriate answer.
  4. When complete, click on the Submit button.

For the Co-subscriber 1 page
Please enter your name exactly as it appears on your government-issued photo ID

  1. Check the following pre-filled fields for existing InvestorLine customers; or type the information in the following fields:
    • Title
    • First Name
    • Middle Initial
    • Last Name
    • SIN
    • Date of Birth
    • Citizenship
    • Dual Citizenship
    • Marital Status
    • Email Address

    Address Information

    • Address
    • Suite/Apt #
    • City/Town
    • Province
    • Postal Code
    • Home Phone #
    • Secondary Phone #
    • Is the mailing address different
      Yes
      No
    • Have you lived at your current address for less than 2 years?
      Yes
      No
  2. If desired, click on the Save button.
  3. When the information is correct, click on the button: Authenticate
  4. Read the Online Authentication questions and click on the appropriate answer.
  5. When complete, click on the Submit button.

Beneficiary
The term Beneficiary for a RESP actually means the person who will be the student.

  1. Check the following pre-filled fields for existing InvestorLine customers; or type the information in the following fields
    • First Name
    • Middle Initial
    • Last Name
    • SIN
    • Date of Birth
    • Citizenship
    • Dual Citizenship
    • Gender
    • Relationshiop to Subscriber:
      Child
      Grandchild
      Brother
      Sister
    • Is the subscriber the custodial parent, legal guardian or public primary caregiver?
      Yes
      No
      Address Information
    • Address
    • Suite/Apt #
    • City/Town
    • Province
    • Postal Code
    • Home Phone #
    • Secondary Phone #
  2. If desired, click on the Save button
  3. When the information is correct, click on the button: Continue

Add Beneficiaries
Would you like to add another Beneficiary to this application?
Click on the Yes button.

Beneficiary 2

  1. Check the following pre-filled fields for existing InvestorLine customers; or type the information in the following fields
    • First Name
    • Middle Initial
    • Last Name
    • SIN
    • Date of Birth
    • Citizenship
    • Dual Citizenship
    • Gender
    • Relationshiop to Subscriber:
      Child
      Grandchild
      Brother
      Sister
    • Is the subscriber the custodial parent, legal guardian or public primary caregiver?
      Yes
      No
      Address Information
    • Address
    • Suite/Apt #
    • City/Town
    • Province
    • Postal Code
    • Home Phone #
    • Secondary Phone #
  2. If desired, click on the Save button
  3. When the information is correct, click on the button: Continue

Add Beneficiaries
Would you like to add another Beneficiary to this application?
If you’re finished click on the No button.

Employment
For the first Subscriber

  1. From the drop-down list, select the person’s Occupation.
  2. Fill in the following information:
    • Employer / Business Name
    • Employer Address
    • Phone Number:
    • Title
    • Job Function
  3. From the drop-down list select the relevant: Industry
  4. Answer the question: Are you currently employed by
    • BMO Financial Group
    • BMO Nesbitt Burns
    • BMO InvestorLine
    • None of the Above
  5. If desired, click on the Save button.
  6. When the information is correct, click on the button: Next
  7. For the First Subscriber, complete the following:
    • Annual Income:
    • Net Liquid Assets:
    • Net Fixed Assets:
    • Estimated Net Worth:
    • Fixed Monthly Costs:

    Bank Account Information
    Answer the following questions
    Select all BMO Bank Account types you own:

    • BMO Bank Account
    • BMO Harris Private Banking Platinum Account
    • I do not have a BMO Bank Account

    If you answer yes to any, they will prompt for the

    • Bank Transit #
    • Bank Account #
    • Bank Address

    Funding Your Account
    Select all sources you will use to fund your accounts

    • Saving of employment income
    • Inheritance
    • Real estate investment
    • Investment in securities
    • Gifts
    • Other

    Would you like to transfer money from your BMO account?
    (This means now) If you say yes, it will ask for transit number, account number and $ amount to transfer.

    Would you like to transfer your account from another financial institution?
    If you say Yes, you will be reminded to complete an Authorization to Transfer Account Form online, print it, sign it and submit it along with your completed application.

For the Second Subscriber

  1. From the drop-down list, select the person’s Occupation.
  2. You will have to complete the same information for the Second Subscriber as you did previously for the First Subscriber.
  3. Click on the Save button.
  4. Click on the Next button.

For each of the subscribers, answer the following questions:

  1. Are you or someone you live with
    • A senior officer or director of company whose shares are traded on an Exchange quotation system or in over-the-counter (OTC) markets?
    • Employed by a securities dealer or a stock exchange?
    • Have more than 10% interest, individually or as part of a group, of a public company?
  2. Do you have, or exercise authority over, any brokerage accounts with:
    • Other financial institutions?
    • With BMO InvestorLine?
  3. Will any other person have trading authorization on this account?
    Yes or no
  4. Answer the question permitting InvestorLine to communicate with companies you invest in to receive Shareholder Communication materials on your behalf.
  5. Check the boxes to indicate which types of security holder materials you wish to receive. (For example, annual reports; financial statements)
  6. Indicated if you want to receive the materials via email.
    If so, confirm your email address is correct.

ESP Information Reporting
Read the information from InvestorLine about how they will communicate with the government agencies and the Canada Revenue Agency about your RESP.

Order Execution Only Account acknowledgement
Read the information explaining that this is a self-directed account and that neither BMO nor InvestorLine will be providing you with any investment advice.

Third Party Determination
If anyone other than yourself will use or direct transactions performed by this account, excluding the other Joint Account Holder, Trading Agent, Power of Attorney and Trustee, you must advise InvestorLine of who this party is and why they are involved.

Protection of Your Privacy
Read the Privacy Policy information. Decide whether you want BMO to know what you are doing at InvestorLine. Select whether or not they can share information.

Sign up for eDocuments
Confirm where your documents should be emailed. This will include trading confirmations etc.

Client Agreements
Please download and read through the Client Agreements document. NOTE: The version that opened when I completed this application was from May 10 2012, but the version I received when I first accessed my account was from 2013. You may prefer to wait and read the more up to date version.

Temporary Account Password
Create a temporary password to access your online account for the first time once the account number is assigned to you and the account is opened. Don’t use the same password you want to use in the future as anyone who has access to your application file might have access to this temporary password!

  1. Type your preferred password in the “My temporary password will be:” field.
  2. Type it again in the “Please re-enter to confirm your password” field.
  3. Click on the Save button.
  4. Click on the Next button.

On the “You’re applying for the following self-directed account(s): ESP – Joint Subscribers Family ESP” Screen

  1. Review the information.
  2. If it looks ok, click on the Continue button.
  3. Answer the question: “Would you like BMO InvestorLine to apply for Government grants and incentives on your behalf?” Yes
    You will have to open, print the appropriate forms for each type of grant. Sigh.
    If you have more than one beneficiary you need to fill out the Annex A form too.
  4. Answer the question: “Are you planning to transfer in an RESP from another institution?”
    Yes No
  5. Click on the Continue button.
  6. Answer the question: “Is this account application being referred to BMO InvestorLine by another area within BMO Financial Group?”
    No Yes
  7. Click on the Submit Application button.

There may be a long wait with the Message: Waiting for www.secure.bmoinvestorline.com

Confirmation – Next Steps
Hopefully you will get the message:
Your application has been processed. You can now access your self-directed account through the sign in link below. Your account number is *(#(#((#(#(#(

Final Steps

  1. Print your entire application once for your files.
  2. Photocopy the signature pages of the application.
  3. Sign both copies of the signature pages for the application. If you have a spouse who is a Joint Subscriber, they need to sign, too.
  4. Print the
    • Application: Basic and Additional Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and Canada Learning Bond (CLB)
    • any other government grants and incentives packages which you are applying to receive
    • if you are transferring funds from an existing RESP into InvestorLine, the HSDC Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Transfer form
  5. Fill in each form and sign it.
  6. Make copies of each completed, signed form for your files.
  7. Check what identification photocopies InvestorLine needs. You will probably need to submit a copy of a government-issued photo id for each subscriber, a copy of another piece of approved id such as a major credit card, and a copy of everyone’s SIN card. Rules change, though, so please check the application screen for the most recent details.
  8. Mail the application signature pages, and the various other signed and completed forms to BMO InvestorLine.

BMO InvestorLine Promotional Codes and Refer a Friend Codes

First, if this is your first InvestorLine account, and if you are contributing or more likely transferring $25 000 or more into the account, be sure to look for promotional codes for cash back or free trades from BMO InvestorLine before you begin filling in your application.

For example, in January 2014, InvestorLine is giving cash back and free trades to people opening their first account with $100 000 or more. They have different offers throughout the year.

In addition to promotional offers, you can also use a “Refer a Friend” code. If you are opening a first account with at least $25 000, you can get $50 or more back in cash. This code can be used together with another promotion.

My “Refer a Friend” code is my email address. If you leave me a comment, I’ll email it to you, or you can check for it on the Free $$$ page. I get a much bigger bonus than you do if you use my code. However, I have to pay tax on it and you don’t because mine is a business-related profit.

What If I’ve Lost my SIN Card and InvestorLine Insists I Need It to Open a RESP Account?

BMO InvestorLine insists that it needs a copy of the SIN card for

  • the subscriber
  • the joint subscriber, if any
  • each child who is a beneficiary of the RESP account and who will receive government grants

So what if you, a subscriber, have misplaced your SIN card somewhere in your house but don’t have a clue where…or even whether you lost it somewhere else: What now?

It can take a long time to get a replacement card from the government, although it can be done.

I phoned InvestorLine to ask if there was another way to deal with the problem. Specifically I asked if a person could submit their most recent Notice of Assessment from the CRA which clearly shows their name, address and SIN.

The representative had to do a bit of checking, but said that yes, if the applicant took their Notice of Assessment and several other pieces of identification including a government issued photo id (such as a Driver’s License) to a BMO branch, they could ask to have their identity confirmed and their Notice of Assessment approved for use in place of seeing the actual SIN card. The bank representative will have to sign the copy of the Notice of Assessment, etc.

I didn’t have to try this as it’s amazing how motivated you can get to find the old red-and-white-plastic-broken-in-half-scotch-taped-turned-yellow-from-the-years card when you think about having to line up at the branch to see a manager during RRSP season. Still, it was good to know there is an option.

In Conclusion
So that’s set up. Now all I have to do is successfully transfer my existing RESP from BMO into InvestorLine without losing track of the amounts contributed for each child and the amount of CESG each has received. I think I’ll keep my last BMO paper statement just in case there is any confusion in the future.


Related Reading

Join In

Do you have your RESP at a brokerage or a bank? Do you invest in TD e-Series funds? Please share your experiences with a comment.

2 thoughts on “How to Open a RESP Account at BMO InvestorLine

  1. Hi,
    I have an RESP with BMO-Investorline, self directed, with a balance of CAD 9000. My confusion is everytime I sell stocks that I had bought, I am charged a flat fee of $9.95. This makes sense as this is mentioned as commission fee on their website. The next day when I come and look at the balance, my balance is usually lower than what it should have been when the transaction was made (usually lower by $30-50). I fail to understand why this is happening.
    Any insight into this will be appreciated.

    • I’m sorry but you’ll need to call InvestorLine for the details on that one.

      It may be that there is some old flag on your account that leads to over-charging. If so, you’d want them to fix it, of course.

      Some other possibilities that cross my mind, though are:

      Are you perhaps selling a mutual fund? If so, the actual sale price is the price at the market close which could be lower than at the time you placed the sell order. Other than that, I can’t think of any obvious costs. (The actual $9.95 fee is not taken out of the Cash Balance shown on screen till the next morning, but it would still only be $10 not $30+)

      Are you selling a mutual fund that you bought 90 days or less ago? If so, they zing you $43 for early redemption.
      “Early Redemption Fee: Exempting Money Market and T-Bill
      funds and back load (DSC) funds, an early redemption fee
      of 1%, subject to a minimum of $43 ($35 for electronic orders)
      will be charged for funds held for less than 90 days. Switch
      orders are subject to the same early redemption fee.”

      There’s also a $50 fee per year for RESPs with less than $25 000 balances. We waited till we had $30 000 to open our RESP at InvestorLine.
      https://www.bmoinvestorline.com/selfDirected/pdfs/FeeSchedule_EN_May.pdf

      Personally, I’d call InvestorLine and ask for the details.

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