Thursday, January 21, 2016

Warning: Monitor your self-directed account carefully

This is just a quick warning: Monitor your self-directed account carefully. Banks make mistakes.

At the beginning of the year, I attempted to meet the minimum withdrawal demands that apply to my wife and my RIFs. After a week without anything happening, I phoned and discovered that my order had gone off to computer limbo.

In the end another agent entered the picture and took over from the first. This person resubmitted my request and I thought all would now be fine. It wasn't. After about a week, the transfer was completed but incorrectly. This morning I discovered that my wife was now the owner of an unwanted mutual fund with a MER north of two percent.

An investment she liked was removed from her RIF and a completely different investment, and one she didn't want, was moved into in her TFSA. This is not the way an in-kind transfer is supposed to work.

I called the bank and got in touch with the second agent. The one who had handled the in-kind transfer that has gone awry. It became quickly clear that an error had been made and the agent promised me that all would be made right in three business days.

My advice:

  • Keep notes.
  • Get the agent's name with whom you dealt.
  • Get the agent's badge number or extension number.
  • Write down all relevant figures.
  • Note the time, the number of shares involved and write down all cash values.
  • Printout a copy of your account as it looked before you began buying or selling or whatever.
  • Printout a copy of your account as it looked after the error was discovered.
  • Check your account daily. This is not the first error I've seen.

The more complicated the undertaking, the more one must keep notes, etc.

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