Can I Transfer my RRSP and TFSA Mutual Funds from BMO to a Self Directed InvestorLine Account?

In blissful ignorance of any rules, I applied to transfer my RRSP mutual funds from BMO to my self directed InvestorLine account. The funds were all ones issued by BMO itself. In fact they were all ancient funds dating back to the time of the runaway success of the book, The Wealthy Barber. I wish the funds had been a fraction as successful as the book!

Fortunately, the transfers went smoothly. I was able to successfully transfer a variety of BMO mutual funds, including some index funds and a mortgage and short term income fund.

Why Did I Still Have These BMO Mutual Funds?

I used to be a charter member of the Ostrich School of RRSP Investing. Shortly after I first bought these funds, the markets tanked. Since my largest investment was in the TSX index fund, my mutual fund tanked too. (Thanks Nortel!)

The Ostrich School of RRSP Investing

As all ostriches are said to do (but I don’t think any REAL ostriches ever do) I stuck my head in the sand and refused to look at any more statements for those RRSPs. BMO indulged me by sending me separate statements for my mutual funds and my GICs and I quickly learned how to tell without opening the envelope which was which. Carefully once each year, I would slice open the four mutual fund envelopes, extract the statements, shred the first three unread, and file the year end report in my binder without looking past the “Dear customer” line.

Can you believe I’m actually a debt-free homeowner with two cars and money in the bank?

Oh. You’ve met my husband. Well, yes, he’s probably largely why…..

….although the fact I stopped investing in the stock market is also a factor. PLUS I never sold the mutual funds. And they were *INDEX* mutual funds (and a fixed income one.) All the Couch Potatoes out there are waving their arms and shouting out that sooner or later the Index returns to the norm and over the long run growth occurs. And they are right. It did and it has. The funds actually have earned a respectable annual return over the long, lonely years. Not that that is going to stop me from selling them!

Assembling the Jigsaw Puzzle of Our Investments One Curious Amoeba-Shaped Piece at a Time

Moving these mutual funds to my self-directed account with InvestorLine placed one piece properly in the puzzle that is our investment picture. There are still a few pieces of the edge missing and, as usual, some of the sky, but we’re starting to be able to recognize what we’re trying to build.

Yes, You Can Transfer Many BMO Mutual Funds In Kind to a Self Directed InvestorLine Account

So if you are planning to move your RRSP or TFSA mutual fund investments from BMO to InvestorLine it should progress smoothly. When in doubt, talk to the advisor at your branch with the most experience with InvestorLine or call InvestorLine directly. And if you have time, share a comment with us about how it goes.

You can also check whether InvestorLine sells the same fund as a no-fee fund from this list. If they do, there’s a good chance the transfer with happen smoothly.

There are a few funds out there that are not available except from their issuer. For example, you won’t be able to move ING Streetwise Funds to another institution.

Further Information

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Did you ever try to transfer mutual funds in kind directly into a self-directed investing account? Was it possible? Please share your experiences with a comment.

14 thoughts on “Can I Transfer my RRSP and TFSA Mutual Funds from BMO to a Self Directed InvestorLine Account?

    • No. If you move from a bank to its related self-directed brokerage there is usually no fee. So when we moved from BMO to InvestorLine, there was no fee. And when we moved from CIBC to Investor’s Edge there was no fee.

      However, you need to check a couple of things before making the move:
      -if you have any GICs at BMO you’d have to ask BMO and/or InvestorLine if you can transfer them before they mature.
      -if you have any mutual funds at BMO, you should check with InvestorLine that they can be transferred in “in kind.” Usually they can.

      It did take about 4-6 weeks to open our InvestorLine account and get the money transferred into it from BMO. It’s NOT fast. But from what I’ve heard that’s common at many brokerages.

      Good luck with your move, should you choose to make it!

      • thanks for info. i opened up an rsp account with bmo last week, i wanted the investorline rsp one since i have both a bmo investorline tfsa and a non registered one which i absolutely love and easy to use but the annual $100 fee for under 25k was the reason i didn’t. i probably won’t have 25k to invest for another couple years. i just have a few index funds and their bond fund which looks to me like can be moved over without an issue. i’m a couch potato investor so i’m looking to get over to investorline asap to get the cheaper index funds from other institutions which i can’t purchase in this regular bmo rsp. and no gics until i get investorline account for the reason you mention above.

        at setup time i was told there was no annual fee with this bmo rsp account, and the paperwork i was given doesn’t have any fees shown other than the normal MER’s for the funds BUT i found a link on internet that says there’s a $10.00 annual fee for bmo mutual funds rsp, can you confirm you didn’t pay an annual fee or maybe this was an old link and is outdated.

        • Thanks for pointing out this sneaky little fee! You are correct BMO is now charging $10 a year (actually with HST in Ontario it would be $11.30) for the privilege of owning their mutual funds in your BMO RRSP! This is on TOP of the MERs for the funds.

          I spoke to a BMO representative (May 20 2014) about this to check whether it is current practice. He said that the fee is taken out of your mutual fund holdings rather than paid directly in cash. I’m not saying that they do that to hide what they are charging but it was a very interesting comment to note. I wonder just how obvious they make the fee in their quarterly or annual e-statements? Perhaps anyone holding BMO mutual funds in a BMO RRSP who reads this can let us know.

          If you haven’t already, you may want to look a bit further into some other options. has some funds that the Canadian Couch Potato thinks are worth considering. As of today, Tangerine (which used to be ING Direct) does not charge anything to transfer out a RRSP to another institution. The funds themselves can’t be transferred, but they can be cashed out and the cash moved. They could start charging a fee at any time, however, just as any bank can change its rules.

          Also, when I last checked RBC Direct Investing did not have an annual fee for a RRSP account, no matter how small, provided you set up regular monthly contributions by direct debit from an account at RBC or at any other financial institution. The problem is that there is a fairly high minimum purchase requirement for many mutual funds once the money is in the account. I don’t know if that would be a barrier to your plans or not. Still, it might be worth further checking.

          And thanks very much for the heads up on the RSP mutual fund fee!

  1. The link I included in my previous post is only place i can find any mention of the fee. The link is no where to be found on their mutual fund rsp page nor any mention of it in any of the material, it popped up when i googled bmo rsp fees. i will be watching my holdings like a hawk to see if i get credited with all the right distributions. the branch representative that set up the account said there was no account fees. i’m sticking with fixed income short term bond funds until i get 25,000 plus then move all over to investorline to get the much higher gic’s that they offer from other institutions. my plan as of now is when i hit 25,000 i will set up a 5 yr gic ladder in investorline. i don’t want a lot of equity funds in there only for there to be a big crash at the time i want to move it over. i keep most of my equity in non registered to take advantage of the capital gains and dividend and us tax credit.

    • It sounds like you have a good strategy mapped out and are using asset allocation to your advantage.

      The fee does seem very hidden to me. I’m wondering if it’s connected to the fact that BMO dropped the MERs recently on some mutual funds? Unfortunately, there’s no easy way for me to check when the fee was introduced.

      Thanks again!

  2. Not sure. they dropped the fees on some of their good mutual funds, series D funds only available to investorline accounts however. I don’t have any bmo mutual funds other than the new rsp mutual fund account. they pay the highest stock dividend of the big banks so if you want to get some of those fees back grab some bmo stock shares as i have. just like people complain about cost of power, natural gas, oil etc. get some of your money back by getting shares of those companys !!!

      • those bmo scammers took $5 plus tax from my rsp account, so much for the no fees other than the mer’s i was told when signed up. i called the branch manager to ask. she investigated and told me the one that set up my account had no knowledge of the $10 plus tax yearly fee. offered me a refund but since i know about the fee now i would have to pay going forward. what a scam and poor training on bmo’s part.

        • I’m sorry you got caught by this new fee. I agree it is unfair and frankly if you have the time (and the patience!) I would encourage you to call BMO again and insist they waive the fee since it was not properly disclosed to you by the agent.

  3. do you know how to sell bmo mutual funds in their branch level rsp and taking that cash to buy a gic? when i tried to sell some of a fund on the redemption page it has accounts which the money would get deposit however both accounts showing are my regular bank accounts. i don’t want any money coming out of the rsp account. i can’t find a way to sell some of the funds and take the cash to buy a gic or even just leave as cash in my rsp account.

    • I have not done this without speaking to a person at my branch. I think you probably have to set up a RRSP Savings Account first, so that you can direct the proceeds of the sale into that account. (That’s what the branch person did for me.)
      I see BMO advertises one called the “BMO RRSP Premium Rate Savings Account” on their website. I’m not sure if there are any fees for having it or for moving money in and out of the account. Given how sneakily BMO added a $10 a year fee for a mutual fund RRSP, I wouldn’t trust them without checking!

      I don’t know if you can open the RRSP Savings Account online or if you have to visit the branch to do so. Perhaps you could check online first? (Unfortunately, I only have online access to InvestorLine as I don’t have any RRSP assets at BMO itself right now.)

      By the way, if you have over $25 000 in your RRSP, if you open and use an InvestorLine RRSP, you will not have to pay the annual fee. You can buy GICs in InvestorLine from various 3rd parties such as Home Trust, Equitable Trust etc. These often pay much more than the “big banks.” The trick is that each GIC you buy has to be at least $5000! Still, it’s a possibility when a RRSP gets large enough. Today at InvestorLine, I could buy a 1-year GIC from Home Trust at 1.85% and a 5-year paying 2.55%.

      Sorry I can’t answer your specific question.

      • It’s one hassle with this branch level RSP, I have good things to say of InvestorLine, I have tfsa and a non reg account with them but don’t have 25,000 for RSP yet, plan on having that in about 3 years.

        I called bmo invest to ask and typical bs, first guy said I can’t sell and put in to cash, my best bet would be money market, I said not what I want, then I said I want gic’s, he said I’d have to go to branch.

        Then I called back and spoke to a lady who said I would need as you said a rrsp premium savings account but I need to deposit $25 to open it. what a hassle.

        I will be so glad when I can open the InvestorLine rsp as I’ve never had one issue with either account and when you call them you get correct answers, at least so far for me. that sneaky $10 dollar fee irks me to, they told me all rsp accounts are charged it, odd how my td rsp mutual funds account doesn’t charge it, must be included in the MER’s, but they are like 3 times cheaper than BMO. I don’t like bs from anyone, one of these days I’m pulling out of branch level bmo, going to go in and ask what exactly amd I paying high MER’s for and the annual fee, show them the returns of bmo funds comparred to TD e series, ask them straight in the eye what I’m getting for the high fees, I bet they would have some BS answer and is the time when I walk out and go over to TD. I don’t mind paying extra for things but I expect to get something better in return than something I pay less for but it seems when it comes to mutual funds, the cheaper the fees the better.

        Thanks again for the reply.

        • I agree they are making it really difficult to do something that should be very simple. I’d love to be there when you confronted them with the high costs some day! Good luck and I agree that things seem to be much easier with InvestorLine.

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