While wandering around the Financial Wisdom Forum which Ellen Roseman had mentioned, I tripped over a post entitled: RESP Transfer: Who Keeps Track of What? I had transferred our RESP from BMO to BMO InvestorLine at the start of the year. Because I’ve kept personal track of our contributions, grants and earnings per child I hadn’t really thought much about this topic. Now motivated, I decided to check what BMO InvestorLine reports to the Subscribers about the transactions in a Family Plan RESP after funds are transferred in from an existing RESP.
What Does BMO InvestorLine Report for a Family Plan RESP and Where?
The BMO account was easy. They mailed me a paper statement each quarter.
InvestorLine has shifted to e-everything so I had to start snooping around my InvestorLine program to see what was available.
[As in “cut to the….”]
If you choose not the read the details on what information is available (and therefore will remain forever ignorant of why 5.25” disks are important and what this topic has to do with Facebook) you will discover the answer is: not much.
I was unable to find any online report or screen that showed me at a glance what had been contributed per beneficiary and what grants had been received per beneficiary over the life of the plan. I could not even find this information for contributions and grants handled only after the transfer to InvestorLine.
I think that is rather shoddy.
BMO reports that information. [See below.] I’m displeased that BMO InvestorLine does not.
I had to contact BMO InvestorLine through the MyLink secure email service (or by telephone) and ask to get the correct information about the amount contributed and granted per Beneficiary this year and since the plan was opened.
Does BMO InvestorLine Have the Correct RESP Contribution and Grant History?
I wrote to inquire about the amount we had contributed and been granted per Beneficiary both after we opened an account at InvestorLine and prior to that in the years that the account was held at BMO, The InvestorLine representative had the correct numbers available and emailed them to me using MyLink.
It’s baffling to me why if they have this information they don’t have a simple report or screen that gives it to the client!
What Information Does InvestorLine Provide about the RESP Contribution and Grant History?
The best information I could find was in the My Portfolio: RESP Contributions: Summary and in the My Portfolio: eDocuments sections.
My Portfolio: RESP Contributions: Summary
I clicked on the Summary link under the heading RESP Contributions under the My Portfolio tab for our InvestorLine Family Plan RESP.
This *should* be a useful, if simple, screen.
It has two simple columns : Beneficiary and Year-to-Date Contributions.
[Yes, InvestorLine heads things Year-to-date on some screens and Year-to-Date on others. They must have a strange Style Book.]
In fact, earlier this year, this screen accurately reported the contribution we had made for each Beneficiary this year.
Today, though, it’s dead wrong:
- It lists the Beneficiaries twice. I’m not sure why.
- For one Beneficiary, it correctly lists the total contribution made over several years but that is NOT the Year-to-Date contribution despite the heading on the column.
- For the other Beneficiaries, it lists 0 as the contributions!
- It doesn’t include any information about Grants.
A disclaimer on the page warns the data may not be correct and says:
“For a complete list and description of transactions, please refer to your monthly client statements. You may want to contact us to know the official contributions and grant payments values.”
I guess I’ll be reporting the error via MyLink, the secure email system, and requesting they fix it.
In the meantime, I’ll take their advice and look at the monthly client statements.
My Portfolio: eDocuments
I clicked on the eDocuments link under My Portfolio. There are two tabs on the screen that opens:
- Confirmations & Other documents
My Portfolio: eDocuments: Statements
Notes include a comment that statements are available for up to 16 months of activity. That suggests to me that it would be a good idea to download the statements and store them on a removable device or disk because you might need them years from now when your children start withdrawing money.
The statements are monthly and are in PDF format. By clicking on a link captioned by the Month and Year, you can open or download the statement. You may want to print any months that have significant events such as Contributions or the deposit of Grants, depending on your paranoia about computer program obsolescence. (E.g. will you be able to open PDFs in 16 years? I have some files on 5.25” disks that only a very, very few people would be able to read nowadays!)
What’s In the Monthly Statement for a BMO InvestorLine Family Plan RESP?
Your Activities this Month
This section reports dividends received, including those within the HISA.
If you make a contribution to the RESP, this is where it will be reported. It will report the amount contributed per beneficiary but will only identify the Beneficiary with a simple code like BENE: 02 not a name.
If you receive a grant to the RESP, this is where it will be reported. It will report the amount of the grant received per beneficiary. This time the Beneficiary will be identified by a code like BENE:02 but also by a name. It will state for which year the grant was received.
This section does *not* provide a year-to-date summary of how much was contributed or granted per Beneficiary.
Other reported information includes the following.
- Our type of account and its number
- The names of the Subscribers (that’s usually the parents)
- The InvestorLine mailing address
- A toll-free number to call InvestorLine.
Your Portfolio Summary
Summary of Assets
The dollar value and % of the portfolio invested in each of the following categories:
- mutual funds
- [There may be other categories. Categories are only listed if you hold some investments in that class.]
- value this month
- value previous statement
- change in investment value
Unlike in the BMO RESP, cash does not earn any interest.
Mutual funds includes AAT770 the daily interest savings account fund. This is where you should keep any cash, if you can, so that it at least earns some interest. At the time this was written, it is paying 1.25% per year.
- opening cash balance
- closing cash balance
- trades settling after month end
- cash balance after all trades
- commissions this month
- commissions Year-to-date
As you can see, this section does not tell you how much was contributed or granted per Beneficiary.
Your Investment Holdings
- security description
- market value
- asset location
This section includes information about equities and mutual funds (including the HISA.)
This section also does not tell you how much was contributed or granted per Beneficiary.
I then started checking through all of the other information provided online for a RESP at InvestorLine. This is what I found.
My Portfolio: Transaction History Information for an InvestorLine RESP
I clicked on Transaction History under the My Portfolio tab for our InvestorLine Family Plan RESP.
Then I selected the starting date for when we opened the account and the ending date for the present day and clicked on the Refresh Transactions button.
This report provided some useful information:
- It listed the date we made a new Contribution for Beneficiary 1, and the amount.
It also listed the same information for the Contributions for the other Beneficiaries.
- It listed the date the Grant was deposited for Beneficiary 1, the name of the Beneficiary and the amount.
It repeated that information for the other Beneficiaries.
It also provided some semi-useful information:
- It only listed the total amount transferred from BMO to InvestorLine and the date.
- It didn’t itemize how much was the Contributions for each Beneficiary, how much was the Grants for each Beneficiary or how much was the growth/income earned by the investments in the account.
My Portfolio: Holdings Information for an InvestorLine RESP
I clicked on Holdings under the My Portfolio tab for our InvestorLine Family Plan RESP.
Under the Positions tab
was a list of our current holdings in
- Cash (a non-interest paying savings account);
- Cash Equivalents (money in the high interest savings account fund; GICs)
- Equities (money in stocks, ETFs and equity-holding mutual funds)
No information was provided on a Beneficiary basis, only on an entire account basis.
No information was provided on how much money was from Contributions from the Subscribers or from grants from the government.
Under the Cash Detail tab
I was amused to note we have 9 cents in cash in our account. I guess I could buy some Facebook shares…..
Under the Portfolio Quotes tab
Was a summary of trading information about any stocks or ETFs we held.
Under the Allocation Charts tab
Were some spiffy pie charts showing our
- allocation by asset class and
- our equities by sector.
Under the News tab
was a series of links to press releases and dubious quality news stories about equities we might be holding.
In summary, nothing under the Holdings section provided any information about how much had been contributed by us or the government per subscriber.
My Portfolio: Portfolio Management for an InvestorLine RESP
I clicked on Portfolio Management which opened a screen entitled Performance Summary under the My Portfolio tab for our InvestorLine Family Plan RESP.
Under the Prior Years’, Avg. Annual Compound [heir comma not mine] tab
were the headings
- Prior Years’ Performance % Rtn; and
- Avg. Annual Compound Rate of Return
Since our holdings have not been in the account for year, there was only N/A listed.
No information from our BMO reports was imported, apparently.
Under the Monthly, Quarterly, Year-to-date tab
were three charts.
- The Monthly Performance chart displayed a list of months and a %, presumably a Rate of Return.
- The Quarterly Performance chart was the same for each of the Quarters of 2014 and 2013.
- The Year-to-date Performance was the same as the Quarterly Performance chart, but presumably the data reported in the second quarter, once it has occurred, will be the Year-to-date return. (The return for the first quarter should equal the year-to-date return if you consider it carefully.)
Again, there was no information here about contributions or grants or anything else on a per Beneficiary basis. Historical performance data was obviously not imported as there was no data reported for 2013 when the investments were held by BMO.
My Portfolio: Portfolio Management: Performance Details for an InvestorLine RESP
I clicked on Performance Details under Portfolio Management under My Portfolio, which opened a screen entitled Performance Details for our InvestorLine Family Plan RESP.
This simple screen showed a table of transactions by month which included:
- Net Deposits/Withdrawals (this showed the transfer in from BMO in the appropriate month)
- Month End Market Value
- Total Market Value
- Change in Market Value
- Change Net of Flows
An interesting summary but it provided little about the transfer other than to show the entire block of cash transferring in. It did not provide any information about the money on a per Beneficiary basis, nor did it detail what was Grant money, Contribution money, or earnings.
My Portfolio: Portfolio Management: Portfolio Rebalancing for an InvestorLine RESP
When I clicked on this link I was told that I do not have this service for any existing plans. Which is good.
My Portfolio: Portfolio Management: Activity Report for an InvestorLine RESP
Clicking this link led to a screen that said
“The Activity Report offers you a detailed transaction history in a .CSV format for up to 24 previous months of your account activity. Features include: transactions listed by lots filled (applicable to equities & ETFs); trade commissions displayed separately, and gain/loss totals provided for each security traded within the time frame you select.”
There is a BIG disclaimer about the information, too. I guess they’re worried that you will file your taxes with errors and try to blame InvestorLine. Frankly, I don’t think I’d trust any brokerage to fully understand my capital gains, losses, dividends, return of capital or other transactions so I’m not surprised.
I can’t see this type of report providing the info I’m curious about either.
Just to check I ran the report. Yep. Nothing I need.
My Portfolio: RESP Contributions for an InvestorLine RESP
I clicked on RESP Contributions under the My Portfolio tab for our InvestorLine Family Plan RESP.
The program took be over to the Education section called RESP Corner.
There were several tabs in this section:
- Contribute to your RESP
- Government grants and incentives
Nothing of relevance or use to a specific Family Plan, however.
My Portfolio: RESP Contributions: Contribution for an InvestorLine RESP
I clicked on Contribution under RESP Contributions under the My Portfolio tab for our InvestorLine Family Plan RESP. It just took me again to the RESP Corner. No useful info.
What Did BMO Report for a Family Plan RESP?
I took a step backwards and pulled out one of our quarterly reports from our BMO Family Plan RESP.
Here’s what it told me:
- The value of the account on the first and last day of the quarter
- Any contributions or withdrawals made during that quarter
- The Rate of Return of the plan for the last (rolling) one year and for the plan since its inception.
This is a handy little chart. It shows me at a glance how much has been contributed and granted per child since the plan began.
Contributions made to the plan are listed by Beneficiary (usually the child) for
- the quarter
- the year to date; and
- since the plan began
The Grants are also listed for these same three time periods per Beneficiary as well.
The total contributions and grants are also summarized.
Other reported information includes the following.
This section would provide details on all of the investments if we had many any. We had our contributions in the daily interest savings account to get it ready to move to InvestorLine.
It did report the interest earned per month during the quarter.
- Our type of account and its number
- The names of the Subscribers (that’s usually the parents)
- The bank branch where we created the RESP and its transit number
- A toll-free number to call BMO, which I had used to call to make contributions to the RESP
The dollar value and % of the plan invested in each of the following categories:
- term investments
- security funds
- income and balanced funds
- growth funds
- equity growth funds
- LifeStage Plus funds
- BMO Portfolio Solutions
Savings means money in the daily interest savings account which is currently paying 1%.
Term investments means money in GICs or other fixed income products.
- Courtesy of the Financial Wisdom Forum, this is a link to the Employment and Social Development Canada Website where the federal government describes the responsibilities of financial institutions when they transfer an RESP from one firm to another.[RESP] Transfers and Payments
- How to Open a Family Plan RESP at BMO InvestorLine
Did you transfer a RESP, perhaps from a bank to a self-directed brokerage account? Did the information about what was contributed per Beneficiary and what grants the Beneficiary received move from the first institution to the second successfully? Please share your experiences with a comment.