As non-residents of Canada, are we allowed to move our RRSP funds to a different institution?

My husband and I moved to the USA 7 years ago, and have permanent residency status for over 1 year.  We have $40,000 in RRSP's which we are now being managed for us and for which we are being assessed a hefty "trustee fee". As non-residents of Canada, are we allowed to move our funds to a different institution and self direct our RRSP funds?  If so, how do we find out which institutions are licensed to hold our RRSP accounts now that we are residents of Washington state?  Our immediate goal is to put all our RRSP's in a savings account and purchase mutual funds etc. at a later date.  Any light you can shed on this would be gratefully received.  Thank you!

david ingram replies:

This is a common complaint. Few Canadian financial institutions are able to handle your monies let alone open a new account.

The answer is yes, you can do so but the institution must have gone to the trouble to register with the US SEC and then state governments when they do material business (more than 4 or 5 clients in that state)  within a state.

There is nothing unusual about this.  A Mutual fund rep licenced in Ontario can NOT sell a mutual fund to his brother in Alberta without being registered in Alberta as well as Ontario.

Darrel Thompson of Blackmont securities in Toronto at (866) 775-7704 is one individual and company who can open a new account for a non-resident, handle the account while you are a non-resident and buy and sell or move funds within the account while you are a non-resident.

In BC and closer to you, Dan Walkow of Seabank Capital can also help you with the whole process although both do not usually deal with amounts under $50,000

Dan Walkow is available at or at 1-866-541-9952.  AND, you can see him in person tomorrow Wednesday evening, April 8, 2009 at (explorer or Google chrome - Firefox not reading properly yet) at 7 PM Vancouver (LA) time.  I will be interviewing Dan on this very topic so if you have a cross - border investment question to ask, call us free on line during the show at 1-866-980-0499 .  If you miss the actual show, there are 4 other interviews on the topic in general at the site.

And of course, you have been filing your TDF 90-22.1 forms with the Department of Justice in Detroit (separate mailing, not part of the tax return) to report the existence of your foreign trust and filing form 8891 to report and exempt the internal earnings of the RRSP And answering YES to question 7 and YES to question 8 at the bottom of schedule B of your 1040 - Remember failure to answer YES or NO to Question 7 on schedule B now has a minimum fine of $10,000 and the maximum is $500,000 PLUS up to 5 years in Jail.  I personally knew a 105 year old woman who received a $10,000 fine for this and a 60 year old man who received 8 months in jail and a $100,000 fine under this legislation.

And tomorrow night, a very special guest for me at 6 PM will be David Hancock or  David and my computer guru/whiz/expert Richard Pitt are the people who put the eagle nests on the net.  Log on and you can see eagles hatching eggs and feeding their young (when hatched of course).

Hope this helps and these older questions will help as well.

I've come across numerous online articles and appreciate some of the learning responses I have read on related subjects - very useful.
I have an immediate query.
As a Canadian on a TN visa working in the US (will be resident alien for this year 2008),  what are the rules surrounding contributing to my RRSP, given that I have accumulated say ie 50K of unused contribution room? On filing my 2008 return a few months from now, can I contribute and/or does the US SEC restrict this in some way.
Also, would you know the current restrictions surrounding making contributions to your RRSP, through a self-directed discount brokerage acct (still in Canada). They had mentioned to me several years ago that it was only possible to do this if I was physically in Canada (ie during a visit), otherwise the account would be fully restricted to sell status only.
I heard somewhere that SEC had relaxed rulings rulings regarding RRSP management.
Thanks if you have any feedback on this!
david ingram replies

If you are a resident alien for tax purposes in the US, in general, your US earnings are NOT taxable in Canada under Article IV of the US / Canada Income Tax Convention (1980) with amending protocols.

If that is the case, you would NOT want to put any more into a Canadian RRSP.

The reason that your brokerage can not deal with you in the USA, is that "THEY" are not licenced to do so.

There are very few companies licenced to deal with you cross border.

Two that are are Blackmont Securities in Toronto and Seabank Capital in Vancouver.

At Blackmont, the only person licenced that i know of is Darrell Thompson at 416-874-8007 or

At Seabank Capital, there are three licenced people.  try Dan Walkow at 866-541-9952 or

Blackmont is a large cross Canada organization.  Seabank is a boutique operation whose corporate goal is to deal with cross-border situations.

.However, if you are living in the US with a Canadian RRSP, I recommend that you do NOT leave it where you can not deal with it.  You (and anyone else in the same or similar position) should switch it to an organization that can buy or sell for you no matter where you are.

These older answers are repetitive but make the same point.

I start off with a comment by FH.

Good on Dan Walkow.  He intercepted what could have been a problem.  There is a stipulation regarding payment of a RRIF to a non-resident that ends up requiring a 25% tax withholding in any payments made from a RRIF to a non-resident in the first year of the RRIF's existence.  Even if they are clearly periodic payments.  So in order to get the normal 15% hold back on my first disbursements in 2008, I have to roll my RRSP into a RRIF before calender year end 2007.
Just in case you weren't aware of this odd stipulation, I thought I'd pass it on.  It could cost non-residents a year of taxation at 25% instead of 15% if they don't get that RRIF in place during the calender year prior to the one in which they intend to draw.  And the US will never give a 25% offset tax credit, unless you are in a much higher tax bracket than most retirees.


david ingram replies:

Thanks for the heads up FH

I have never heard of this but will pass it on just in case there are other US residents intending to roll over into a RRIF at the start of 2008 (or any other for that matter).

I qualified for OAS and CPP in September but decided to leave it until 2008 for instance,.

For those who need someone who can handle your RRIF, RRSP, IRA, 401(K) 403, other retirement plans and any open cash account on both sides of the US / Canada border, I give you the following:



Is Stansberry & Associates a legitimate firm?

david ingram replies:
So far as i know.

One person on the list wrote to say that they had satisfactory dealings with them after I wrote the following:

If the problem is dealing with cross border investments, I usually recommend Dan Walkow and / or Darrell Thompson

as in this older question about the same firm

QUESTION: 1. have been trying to find ethical investment firm to go with in Canada and can not seem to get any unbiased answers We live in Red Lake Ontario (landed immigrants), but are also US citizens

2. Is this Stansberry & Associates legit, as they seem to have many different opportunities claiming great returns
Pinchot Retirement Plan,  Master Limited Partnership, Market Index Target Term Security , Oakmark Select Funds
Thanks greatly looking forward to your email


david ingram replies:
I have no good or bad knowledge about Stansbery and Associates. None of my clients deal with them to my knowledge.

From looking at their website, they seem to be a newsletter operation as much as anything.  I have about 15 interviews with newsletter writers on gold (John Embry), oil, uranium (Martin Kafusa), silver (Sean Rahkimov) real estate (Ozzie Jurock), futures and commodities (Victor Adai), Resources in General (Elsworth Dickson, Publisher of Resource World)  etc at - mostly in the third column.

Two ethical people who are properly licenced to seal with the sale of securities, IRA's 403B,  RRSPs, RRIFs, etc., to US citizens in Canada or Canadians in the US  are:

Dan Walkow
Seabank Financial
White Rock
Local     (604) 541-9952
L D        (866) 541-9952


Darrell Thompson
Blackmont Securities
Local    (416) 874-8007
LD        (866) 775-7704

These two individuals and their companies have gone to the effort to get themselves registered and properly licenced  just about everywhere so they can deal with a Canadian in Florida or California or Nevada, etc.

Note that because of their specialty, they tend to deal with accounts in excess of $200,000

However, I know that both parties would welcome an exploratory call. Small accounts do grow into larger ones and of course, you do not have to have a cross border problem to deal with them.
You can find a sample 1040NR tax question about selling real estate and

my suggested price list at


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