What's a Canadian to do? [Canadian living in US]

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What's a Canadian to do? [Canadian living in US]

Postby jnsickler » Thu May 09, 2013 4:54 pm

I can't quite figure this out. My wife is Canadian living in the states. She has (and has had) an ugly mix of investments -- high fees, high turnover, etc. in both RSP's (The Canadian equivalent of our IRA's) and outside investments. These are held with a "financial advisor" -- adding to the overall cost. Here's the rub though ... this advisor claims that since my wife is living outside of Canada, the law says she's unable to make any changes or offer any advice. My first question would be, why is she still charging her fee?

Is it true that a Canadian living in the USA has entered a financial quagmire? A simple (Canadian) self directed brokerage would seem to an easy option, but I haven't found one that will accept her assets with a US mailing address. Any ideas?
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Re: What's a Canadian to do? [Canadian living in US]

Postby LadyGeek » Thu May 09, 2013 5:33 pm

Welcome! Your wife is a Canadian expat (living outside her home country). Consider asking this question in our sister Canadian forum: Financial Webring Forum which handles cross-border investments all the time. You'll get expert advice.

I suggest you check out their wiki, finiki, the Canadian financial Wiki, as there is a relevant article: Cross-Border and Expatriate Issues

Also: Canadian-US Investing Differences

Here's the background on RRSP: Registered Retirement Savings Plan
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Re: What's a Canadian to do? [Canadian living in US]

Postby lawman3966 » Thu May 09, 2013 10:42 pm

As the above poster said, you will likely get better responses on the various Canadian centered fora. However, I couldn't help but chime in.

A brief internet search revealed numerous firms in Canada dedicated to helping Canadians living abroad which appear fully able to manage investments while their clients are abroad. Moreover, it's common sense that with any type of electronic account, the account should be manageable by the client from anywhere.

Accordingly, I am inclined to distrust and disbelieve what this financial advisor has told you. At the very least, you should be able to move this money to another advisor or better still to a brokerage account within which you could buy Vanguard ETFs.

See what the posters on the various forums linked to by the above poster say.

My only other advice is to contact the Foundation for the Advancement of Investor Rights at the link below (there is a "contact us" tab at the top of the page). They may be able to help.

http://faircanada.ca/
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Re: What's a Canadian to do? [Canadian living in US]

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 10, 2013 3:29 am

jnsickler wrote:I can't quite figure this out. My wife is Canadian living in the states. She has (and has had) an ugly mix of investments -- high fees, high turnover, etc. in both RSP's (The Canadian equivalent of our IRA's) and outside investments. These are held with a "financial advisor" -- adding to the overall cost. Here's the rub though ... this advisor claims that since my wife is living outside of Canada, the law says she's unable to make any changes or offer any advice. My first question would be, why is she still charging her fee?

Is it true that a Canadian living in the USA has entered a financial quagmire? A simple (Canadian) self directed brokerage would seem to an easy option, but I haven't found one that will accept her assets with a US mailing address. Any ideas?


Yes on the mailing address problem.

However I have not found an issue on getting a full service broker to accept my instructions as long as there was a client relationship before I left Canada. Seems to me her Financial Adviser is being overly strict on this. [EDIT: as per below, not a good idea if there are tax implications-- I had not thought of that]

I can make direct stock purchases and sales, just not hold mutual funds (other than ones held when I left Canada).

In worst case, she may have to move to a sibling or parental address still in Canada and use that. I have seen people do that for insurance policies (use an Ontario address rather than a Quebec one to avoid Quebec tax on insurance premiums).

Interesting to know what Financial Webring things about this problem.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Fri May 10, 2013 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's a Canadian to do? [Canadian living in US]

Postby Animal House » Fri May 10, 2013 9:29 am

I am not sure if the Involvement of the Financial Adviser changes anything, but if she had a brokerage account in Canada, she should be allowed to make self directed transactions. However, it has not always been this way. Up until the last 5-6 years, it was dependent on which state she lived in. A Canadian Brokerage could not execute "buy" trades for a US based customer unless the Brokerage had a presences in that state or had an agreement with the state. I live in Georgia and I am a Canadian citizen. Up until 6-7 years ago, I could not place any buy orders. Nowadays, I can buy / sell, but I cannot do so via the web. I need to call the brokerage and have them execute the trades. That might be some silly rule the Brokerage made up, or it might be a law, I don't know. Once I got the ability to buy & sell, I stopped following the issue.

I would be really cautious about giving the Brokerage a Canadian Address. Everything is interconnected now and before you know it, she could end up be a Canadian Resident for tax purposes... then the fun would really begin.

I would do some research into how the use of an Adviser is complicating things. It may be that the Adviser is correct, but the remedy could be as simple as releasing the adviser.

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