by Tom Bradley

When you look up the word ‘asymmetric’ in the dictionary, it says, “having two sides or halves that are not the same.” It’s a word we use often when talking about investments. We’re looking for stocks that have more upside than downside. This kind of asymmetry is the holy grail.

Asymmetric is also how I would describe the wealth management industry’s approach to account transfers. If you move your RRSP to a new firm, they will process the paperwork and get you up and running in no time. If you transfer assets out, it can take weeks.

This imbalance is appalling and reflects poorly on the industry’s commitment to clients. At Steadyhand, however, we have a different ethic that’s rooted in our most important decision-making criterion – What’s best for the client? We treat transfers ‘in’ the same as transfers ‘out’. It just makes sense and isn’t hard to do.

I’m bringing up this topic because one of our regulators, the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA), asked dealers to comment on the transfer process. We filed our submission a few weeks ago. If you’re having trouble sleeping or want to know what Paul (McCrossan) and the rest of our operations team must do to expedite transfers, give the piece a quick scan. You’ll get a sense of what we’re up against and indeed, how unusual we are.

In the meantime, when you’re looking to hire a new manager or advisor, be sure to ask how hard it is to move your assets elsewhere if things don’t work out. Ask for specifics on what fees will be charged and how long will it take. The answers may be revealing.