BMO InvestorLine (read review here) will soon allow clients to segregate their Canadian and US Dollar holdings in registered accounts including RRSPs and TFSAs. The ability to hold US dollars will not, however, be available to RESP accounts. According to client service representatives I spoke with recently, BMO InvestorLine will be rolling out the new feature in the second week of September 2011. Competing discount brokers that offer US Dollar registered accounts are RBC Direct Investing, QTrade and Questrade.
It appears that the BMO InvestorLine registered accounts will work just like RBC Direct Investing’s Dual Currency accounts work today. The US dollar side of the registered account will be available to new and existing clients automatically. However, existing clients will have to phone the broker to transfer current holdings they wish to hold in the US dollar side. BMO InvestorLine will not charge an extra admin fee or extra trading commissions for US Dollar registered accounts.
The ability to keep CAD and USD holdings separately is good news for BMO InvestorLine clients. They can completely avoid forced currency conversion when buying and selling US Dollar securities in registered accounts. By converting currency with the Norbert Gambit they can save on steep conversion charges. And best of all, US dollar dividends will not be converted into CAD for holdings in the USD side of registered accounts.