TD Waterhouse - e-series workaround Part 1In the last year I’ve read dozens and dozens of blog posts about how difficult it was to successfully open an e-series account with TD. Anyone can see this by looking at TD’s own site, which while I have heard has improved recently, still leaves the steps to the process muddled. To give an example, TD’s directions advise you to open and fill out a specific application for the e-series account if you are a new customer. However, once you open the application you can read the header of the page which says that the form is only for existing customers. As well, I’ve read how employees at the branches will try to persuade you into one of their funds with a higher MER or choose not to assist you at all when you mention you are interested in the e-series.
My plan was to open a TFSA and start contributing bi-weekly or monthly into certain e-series funds. However, after reading about the difficulty which people were experiencing I decided to place this plan on the back burner for a while. Finally this month, after almost an entire year of procrastinating, I worked up the courage and decided to trudge through with the process, however aggravating it became. Luckily, on the very day I was beginning the process, I came across another site which instead was recommending a painless shortcut to the process. The simple workaround was to open a discount brokerage account with TD Waterhouse instead. The advantage to this being that from within a TD Waterhouse account you can still buy e-series funds, while bypassing all of the familiar complaints. It promised that I wouldn’t have to go in to a branch or open first a mutual fund account and then send papers off to have it converted to an e-series account. It was an enticing recommendation and I jumped at the chance to bypass all the hurdles.
I am now in the middle of the process with TD Waterhouse. I applied online with TD Waterhouse by filling out a lengthy application. It does ask for quite a bit of information so you should be prepared for it to take at least 15 minutes if not more of your time. I applied on a Sunday night and by Tuesday I still hadn’t received anything from them about opening the account, not even a welcome email. (This is my biggest complaint so far). Finally on Tuesday I did receive an email which said a welcome package would be coming in the mail within 5 business days and if not then to phone in and your sign-in info would be provided by a customer service rep. So when I had not received the packaged by Friday I phoned in and was promptly given all of my account information and temporary passwords on the spot. By Monday I was able to sign in online through WebBroker and see that my TFSA was open. This last week I received my welcome package in the mail containing a number of documents which you should probably read through or at least skim. A number of forms are about transferring money from a registered account at another institution or setting up a monthly contribution plan. The main thing which you need to locate in the package is the application form itself. This is the form that you filled out online to open your account initially and while it seems like the account is open already, the system prevents you from trading until this application is signed and sent back to them. A postage paid envelope is provided to send it back. Also, you must provide a photocopy of one piece of ID, along with your signed application. I used my Driver’s License but you could also use your Passport, Birth Certificate, etc. This is the point I am currently at in the process. I have sent the signed application form along with my license and am now in a waiting game. In the meanwhile I am trying to understand how to fund the account from a different financial institution. The “transfers” section within WebBroker seems to only allow transfers from other TD accounts. I know I can use the monthly contribution form which was provided in my welcome package but I would like to find a quicker way to do this online.
Edit: You can apparently fund the account from another financial institution by using that account's "bill payment" feature. I will give it a go.