How to open up a TD e-series account

I almost never write “how to” posts, but after posting about my investment portfolio last week, I’ve had a lot of people e-mail me to ask about the procedure for signing up for the TD e-series mutual funds.

I started investing in TD Canada Trust e-series mutual funds over six years ago, and have been a satisfied customer for most of that time. The e-series index funds are a popular choice because they are a simple way to invest, and have among the lowest Management Expense Ratios (MERs) for mutual funds in Canada. However, the downside is that there is virtually no customer service available for these products.

From my own experience, TD Canada Trust really doesn’t make it easy or straight-forward for investors to purchase or cash out these funds. I’ve blogged about my frustrations before. But since the e-series funds aren’t actively managed, as an investor, you have to manage your own account online. So if you don’t know exactly what to expect, you might get frustrated.

However, the hilarious thing is, you can’t actually open an e-series account online. Aaaaand you can’t open one up at a TD Canada Trust branch either. Instead, you have to fill out a form and mail it in. The same thing goes for cashing out your funds – you can’t redeem your money at a branch or online – it all has to be done manually by filling out a form. This barrier and lack of customer service can make it frustrating for investors.

Here is what I’ve learned about the TD e-series mutual funds:

Open up a standard TD Mutual Fund account
Whether it’s a TFSA, RRSP, or non-registered account, you will be able to open this up at any TD Canada Trust branch. To make it less confusing, don’t tell the representative that you’re going to be converting it into an e-series account. Just open up a regular TD mutual funds account. Make sure you get your account number (you’ll need it to fill out your paperwork) as well as an online banking login number.

You will have to make an initial deposit to open up your account. I’m not actually sure if you *have* to, but I was forced to when I recently went in to open up a TFSA mutual fund account. I told the representative that I didn’t want to deposit any money into the account. But since he said I had to, I told him to transfer the minimum $25 deposit from my chequing account as a one-time transaction.

The representative you meet with will take you step-by-step through a required Investor Profile questionnaire to determine your risk-tolerance level. They will then most likely try to sell you into a mutual fund with a high MER (he tried to sell me into the Comfort Portfolio series). However, it will be easiest to deposit your money in a simple “placeholder” money market fund until you get your paperwork in order and set up with the e-series account.

Convert your account
Now that you’re set up with a mutual fund account, before you are allowed to purchase the e-series index funds, you will have to fill out a consent form, along with an application form (which will include your pre-authorized purchase plan information), and mail it in. You will not be able to fax it in, or return it to a branch.

It takes probably about 1-2 weeks for them to process your paperwork after they receive it. But you’ll have to log onto the TD Canada Trust website to see if your account has been converted over to e-series. I’ve heard of some people getting confirmation e-mails, but I never got one. So just check online every couple of days after you send off your application form.

Cashing out your e-series index funds
Because the e-series funds are self-directed, you will receive virtually no customer service support. In fact, TD Canada Trust mutual fund representatives do not have the capabilities within their computer system to make any sort of e-series transaction for you – whether it’s buying, selling, or trading.

The easiest way to take money out of your e-series account – whether it’s for the Life-Long Learning Plan (LLP) or Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP) – is to switch the amount you want to withdraw over to a non-e-series product, such as the money market fund. I learned this the hard way. Once it is in a regular mutual fund, any mutual fund representative will be able to help you fill out the appropriate paperwork to get funds out of your account.

For more information, you can check out the TD Canada Trust website where they have compiled a somewhat useful database of information on the TD e-series funds.

Does anyone else have any TD e-series mutual fund tips?

About Krystal Yee

I'm a writer, personal finance blogger, and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I'm a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner's Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I'm not working, you can usually find me running, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.

41 comments

  1. I wish I had some tips to help with these funds, but all I have is a question. Do you know why you can’t transfer money into the account from a savings or other investment account? It seems from what I’m experiencing that you also need to go into the branch to put money into the account in order to buy the funds. It’s been frustrating me, and it seems like there should be an easier way than this.

    • I was able to set it up so that I could deposit money from my PC Financial chequing account directly into both my RRSP e-series and TFSA accounts with TD, so you should be able to as well. There’s no reason why you should have to go into a branch to buy funds!

  2. Hi Cassie! It’s Chris from TD. Sounds like a frustrating experience. We’d suggest that you give EasyLine a call at 1-866-222-3456, and speak with an Investment Specialist (option 3) who is licensed to help you out with TD Mutual Funds. Hope to hear from you soon! ^CT

    • Cassie?! Oh come on. These guys don’t do themselves any favours!

    • Here’s a suggestion Chris. http://www.ingdirect.ca. It took me a whole 1 hour to sign-up to a TFSA Index Fund. There are no blogs, informative websites or any of the other B.S. policies that make signing up to TD E-Series such a hassle. Sure MER’s are higher and I don’t like them but for small time accounts (not using ING for my retirement fund) they have your bank beat. Darwinism for business states that if your employer doesn’t innovate or evolve they like your job will become extinct. Take this as advice.

  3. When I opened up my TD e-series account a couple of years ago I also had to open up a savings account which linked to my mutual fund count (which was then converted). The savings account is free (2 transactions only allowed per month) and it doesn’t do anything but sit there so I don’t really understand why I needed to open it. Thanks for posting your experience-I’ll give TD a call and understand if I can close that savings account. I think it might have been the easiest way for them to have my money deposited into a TD fund and then moved over to a mutual fund but I’m unsure now.

  4. You can transfer money to the account fairly easily by setting up a ‘bill payment’ to TD Waterhouse from your bank’s (I use PCF) bill payment online website. You use your TFSA account number as the ‘payee’. The money takes a few days to appear in the TFSA account.

    I think this is buried somewhere in the introductory brochure I was mailed when I opened the e-series TFSA account.

    (I was also able to open the e-series account directly by printing and filling out the signup form that is online, taking it to the branch, where they kind of ignored the forms and input the information directly into their system.)

  5. Thannks for posting this Krystal. I have been curious myself and am just starting to sort out investing some of my savings into RRSPs and TFSA for a home in the future as well as for my retirement. THis is verty helpful.

    I recently have set up a TFSA and RRSP at the branch (I guess I thought it was eseries but looking at my paperwork it is not). Do you know if there is a disadvantage at this point to leave it as it is just in the regular RRSP/TFSA?
    Currently I don’t have too much money in the account so if my management fees are a percentage they shouldn’t be too high right? Should I wait until I have closer to 10,000$ before I dump the funds into eseries.. do you have any advice on this? Thanks again for your great post.

    • Hey Tessa, well I’m not a financial advisor, so you should definitely do your own research before making any decisions, but I would personally dump both my TFSA and RRSPs into e-series funds now, if that’s your intention in the future. The disadvantage of leaving it in regular RRSP/TFSA is the MER you’re paying is probably really high. Even if you don’t have that much in your RRSP/TFSA, you’re still paying the same MER percentage on your money.

  6. We use e-series funds for my RRSP, and for our kids’ RESPs. It was a frustrating experience setting them up, but worth it for the low MERs. My tip is to confirm that they will try to sell you a more expensive fund when you open the account, and once your money is in that fund you can’t move it without penalty for a certain amount of time – 30 days, I think. So make sure that they put your initial deposit in a money market fund, as there is no waiting period for that kind of fund. Also, if its an RESP account, make sure to specify that you want the grant money from the government to go into a money market fund too. The default seems to be one of their Comfort funds.

  7. Is TD Canada Trust the best Canadian retirement fund account in your opinion? I’ve had pretty good experience with Vanguard, but I’m not familiar with what options are available in Canada.

  8. You can also open a td Waterhouse discount brokerage account. Tfsa accounts are free if you sign up for e services. No transaction fees on the e funds or any other td fund

    • Oh. Duh. I think I have this and not the e-series account.

      I was just thinking that I could purchase e-series funds. But now that you remind me, I remember researching and the Waterhouse account was identical (no fees, as long as you sign up for e-services) and you could buy non-e-series stuff (like ETFs, for example) if you want to.

  9. Another option would be to open a TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage Account at a TD Branch. That account will have the option to buy E Series Funds, as well as stocks and other funds, such as the ETFs.

    The best part of opening it through the TD Waterhouse:

    1) You have access to the people at the branch level to deposit and withdraw money.

    Note: You can make one FREE withdrawal for a TFSA invesment account per year. After that, it will cost you a fee for everytime you withdraw money.

    2)When you deposit by cash at a branch, you can immediately access your cash to make a purchase on the day of you depositing it OR It also gives you the option to just deposit it and not make a purchase immediately. So it sort of acts like a savings account, minus the earning monthly interest part.

    Just in case, don’t mention to them that you want the account to purchase E Series. ;)

    After you get your account activated, make sure you sign up for e statement, so they won’t charge you a $25 annual fee for having the account (TD weren’t too clear when I asked them about the fees, they mentioned something about charging a fee if your investment account was not active and/or has under $25,000 in it)

  10. Good post Krystal.

    I walked a friend of mine through a similar strategy many years ago, what I helped them do was the following:

    1) Open a TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage TFSA at a TD Branch. Like Tim says:
    - TFSA accounts are free (no fees!) if you sign up for e-services (get statements via email).
    - You have no transaction fees on the e-funds or any other TD Fund.

    2) Put $500 into your TFSA account. Wait a week for the money to settle and “show up” in the account.

    3) Buy your TD e-fund of choice, I had my friend pick the TD Canadian Bond Index Fund first (Fund # TDB909).

    4) Sit back and relax as the transaction unfolds.

    Agreed with comment above, the best part of opening it through the TD Waterhouse, you have access to people who can help you at Waterhouse with the e-funds transcations, not so much with folks at the Branch with e-funds.

    One thing your readers should note, with PCF, because I bank there too, you can add your TD Account as a bill payment and transfer money that way from PCF to TD Waterhouse from the comfort of your home. No branch visit required :) Shhh, don’t tell anyone at PCF!

    • @My Own Advisor: Just to add a note about adding your TD account as a bill payment for PCF. It is an option to do it in the comfort of your own home, but there is a wait time for the money to transfer over. Visiting a branch is another option if you wanted to purchase funds/stocks to avoid the wait time as the money is available immediately.

  11. Krystal,

    Love the blog. Re. redeeming funds – I’ve found it super easy.

    I use e-series for my TFSA (which operates as my emergency fund). I banged up a zipcar last month and used my emergency fund to cover the damage fee. I was easily able to redeem the $300 I needed through EasyWeb, and the next day it appeared in my chequing account. No muss, no fuss, no fee. Got a confirmation in the mail about the activity.

    Not sure how it would go for RRSPs since I haven’t wanted to make any withdrawls.

  12. I wish you’d put your post up earlier in the week–I had THE most frustrating time at TD on Tuesday, trying to open up a mutual fund account so that I could convert it to one that would allow me to purchase the e-series funds. If I had read your tip about not telling them I wanted to do the e-series it might have been much smoother!

    The branch manager (who barged into my meeting with the mutual funds rep) tried to sell me on the Comfort Portfolio TOO! I was so annoyed with him I almost got up and left without finishing setting up my account. He had no idea what the e-series fund was and tried to make me feel stupid for not being able to recite the e-series MER’s off the top of my head (no one had told me there would be a pop quiz where I’d be made to justify MY choice of what to do with MY money.) He also revealed that he didn’t even have a passing knowledge of who some of the major Canadian investment journalists are today (I would’ve thought someone in that position would at least glance at the Globe’s finance section occasionally.) It was a highly dissatisfying experience, to say the least.

    Anyhow, thanks for the post. Hopefully now that I have the regular mutual fund account set up TD won’t make the conversion part too painful!

  13. I had a really frustrating experience too (more so to take out money for my Home Buyers Plan than put money in).

    I also have a how to post lol on eseries here:
    http://youngandthrifty.ca/funds/how-to-apply-for-a-td-e-series-fund/

    It took a bit of time for the conversion but it was exciting to have it done. I have it automatically deducted from my savings account and I also have the dividends that are paid out automatically reinvested.

    I’m planning to get a TFSA TD eseries- that’s on my to do list. I think Indexing is the way to go, and it is much less headache (and heartache) than taking the time to pick individual stocks.

  14. I found the process to be frustrating as well. But in the end TD also created the paperwork in the branch and mailed it for me with inter office mail.

    The person who helped me only did so because I insisted they do it. The people who posted above to whom it was suggested they get the “comfort portfolio” did so because the person signing them up would get a comission for the sale of that product. Definately not because it was in the clients best interests.

    That is why is so important not to just get “a” financial planner but the right one. One that looks out for your interests and costs first not their own pockets.

  15. Wow, wish I had checked your blog yesterday!! I went into a TD branch today simply to ask if they wouldn`t mind printing off the e-Series paperwork for me (my printer died). They led me into someone`s office who said it was actually easier to just sign me up for the account while I was there. He kept mentioning how I was signing up for the Comfort fund, I kept insisting it was the e-Series funds I wanted. He commented that it was funny I called them the e-series funds because in-branch they called them the i-series. I began to think that he knew what he was signing me up for wasn’t quite what I wanted so I refused to put any money in the account (and won`t) until I talk to a TD rep over the phone to figure out what exactly he opened.

    Honestly, the way this TD guy treated me was kind of annoying (he was vaguely rude to me when he found out that my mortgage is with another institution and that I have chequing/savings accounts with other banks) and it was exactly that kind of treatment that forced me to abandon “traditional” banks the first time. Frankly, I might do it again and just stick with my PCFinancial and ING accounts.

  16. I’ve written the book on e-series, and as others have said above, usually recommend going the Waterhouse route — it’s way more straightforward, you can avoid all the fees (except the RRSP minimum $25k) with electronic statements, and you’re immediately future-proofed with a brokerage account if you want to move up to ETFs at some point.

    @Kris: he probably opened a regular TD mutual funds account. You can hold “i-series” index funds in there, which have a higher MER. That’s the first step to getting an e-series account at TDMF. Now you need to go and print off the conversion form and mail that in to be eligible for e-series (that’s point 2 on my e-series guide page).

  17. Thanks Potato!!

  18. Great post! It’s exactly what I was researching for sometime. I appreciate the comments, I might try the TD Waterhouse Brokerage to start E-series TFSA.

  19. @Krystal Yee: I’d like to hear more about how you were able to do this. I’m finding it a difficult process…

  20. You wrote “The easiest way to take money out of your e-series account … is to switch the amount you want to withdraw over to a non-e-series product”

    So once you’ve converted you’re regular TD Mutual Fund Acct to be able to buy the e-series funds can you still also buy any of the regular TD mutual funds as well as the e-series?

    Thnx

    • Yep, once you have an e-series account you can still buy any of the regular TD mutual funds.

      If the funds you want to buy don’t fit within the scope of your investor profile, you’ll get an e-mail stating that they can’t complete your transaction. Then you have to call in and it’s a HUGE hassle. HOWEVER, I found that you can always set up an automatic payment plan for whatever fund you want with no problem.

  21. You do not have to put any amount of money down or for deposit. When you open the account, you have 14 days before it gets closed if you do not put money in it. I just went in, said I want to open the acct, still researching, but want the account open as the deadline is soon (I opened an RSP), and it was done.

    You do get an email as per the info in the instructions, maybe they didn’t encode it correctly or so

  22. Hi

    I recently opened an e-series account and after doing a bit of research I called the local branch here in Yellowknife, made an appointment with an advisor and he walked me through the paperwork and actually sent the completed forms (there were lots) for me to TD Waterhouse. To start buying online once the account was active (about 2weeks after paperwork) I called customer service and they walked me through the steps of how to buy funds (fund tickers etc) and it was really easy but you have to know the funds you want before calling.

    All around easy experience for me.

    Erik

  23. Hi,
    I just opened my TD Mutual Fund account yesterday and immediately sent the ‘covertion request’ form. But if it takes two weeks then I’ll miss out the RRSP deadline for 2011 income tax. I was hoping to deposit 50k in my RRSP. Since my TD acct is already opened, can I purchase 50k of another TD product and then later on transfer it to the TD-e? I was thinking to maybe buy TD canadian bonds. If I don’t deposit that money in my RRSP now I’ll have to pay taxes on them.

  24. i have successfully open an e-series account with TD but i always get this msg: “mutual funds are currently unavailable” i have tried several times, different days and times of the day but can’t get pass through this msg. i was trying to set up my pre-authorized payment plan. any help/advice about this? thank you.

  25. Krystal, I used to have TD e-series index fund probably 5 years ago or so. I don’t remember what happened, but I run away from them back to RBC. Now, looking at RBC Canadian Index fund MER of .71% v. TD Index fund MER of .33%, it really does look tempting. Should I go back or should I stay where I am right now. I am a long term investor, so I don’t anticipate taking money anytime soon. But if I decide to sell some of my units, I would hate to have difficulties like filling out paper forms and sending it to them.

    I mean, really? Do they still do it that way? Is it really true that if you wish to sell some of your units in TD e-Series fund, you actually have to fill out a paper form and send it to them, by mail? Is this really what’s going on with TD?

  26. The absolute easiest way to gain access to e-Series funds is to walk into a TD Canada Trust branch and open a TD Waterhouse TFSA and non-registered account. (both have no annual fees) You could also open a TD Waterhouse RSP but those come with a $25 annual fee unless you have $25,000 in the account so for that TD Canada Trust might save you a few dollars.

    The Waterhouse accounts have several advantages over regular TD Canada Trust accounts:
    1) no “conversion” – they can house the e-Series funds by default
    2) no annual “client information form” (aka know your client, KYC form) requirement
    3) no fees (not sure if TD Canada Trust charges fees for their mutual fund TFSA or non-registered accounts)

    • I completely agree as my experience was similar.
      I went online to the TD Waterhouse site and called the number provided to book an appointment at a TD bank to open my TFSA and RSP. BTW there were Saturday and Sunday appointments available. At the appointment I just said that I wanted to open Waterhouse TFSA and RSP accounts. They also linked these accounts to a regular no fee TD chequing account so that I can make cash or cheque deposits to my trading accounts if I want.

      The lady who helped me was extremely helpful and did not once try to sell me expensive mutual funds. When I went home I called TD Waterhouse to get my online access numbers and voila 48 hrs later my accounts were set up and ready to go to buy e series funds. I was very impressed with the service and there was nothing difficult about the process at all. My everyday banking is done at PC Financial and I can easily fund my TD Waterhouse accounts by sending the funds electronically as a bill payment.

  27. Will my wife and I have to open up separate accounts with the e-Series funds if we want to invest within registered accounts (RSP/TFSAs)?

    Thanks

  28. Sorry, a few more questions, if you don’t mind!

    Can I open an account at TDW then open RSP within it, then, for example, deposit $7000 or $8000 into e-Series funds.. then contribute regularly throughout the year using my TFSA contribution room? Hope this makes sense! I’m new to this stuff and trying to learn as I go along.

    Thanks!!!

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