Following are some of the things you need to consider when moving specific investments to Canada:
STOCKS – Most stocks traded on an exchange in the US can be moved to a Canadian brokerage firm and sold when requested. Stocks in your portfolio that are listed on both a Canadian and US stock exchange will be sold on the Canadian stock exchange and the proceeds of the sale will be in Canadian dollars for holding in your account, unless you have opened up a US$ account at your Canadian brokerage firm.
BONDS – Again, most American bonds (particularly those issued by the federal and state governments) can be transferred wholesale into a Canadian brokerage account and sold when requested. These bonds will appear on your statement in Canadian loonies. Like stocks, the proceeds of the sale, or any interest paid will be in Canadian dollars unless you hold the bond in a US$ account.
MUTUAL FUNDS – Despite our most valiant efforts, we have been unable to transfer a single mutual fund from the US to a Canadian brokerage firm or mutual fund company. Even US-based mutual fund companies like Templeton will not permit you to transfer THEIR mutual fund from THEIR American subsidiary to THEIR Canadian subsidiary. We have personally tried to move the Templeton International Stock fund and the Templeton International Growth fund (both denominated in US dollars) from Templeton’s American subsidiary to the Canadian subsidiary to no avail. After countless phone calls, written requests, etc. we gave up, sold the mutual funds and moved the cash down. Before selling, look at your investment plan and make sure you analyze and understand the tax implications of doing so, as well as the deferred sales charges that may be involved. Without a proper investment plan, moving mutual funds can cost you dearly.
CASH – Moving cash is the easiest way to bring your investment portfolio to Canada. Liquidation of the portfolio avoids a myriad of issues but you should analyze and understand the tax implications of doing so first. The quickest way is to wire the cash from your bank or brokerage firm to a discount currency exchange broker who will convert your US dollars into Canadian loonies and wire it into your Canadian brokerage account or bank. Whatever you do, do not attempt to take a large amount of cash with you when you leave the US through a border crossing (see details in the Canada Customs Planning section).
PARTNERSHIPS/UNIT TRUSTS – These investments offer you a double whammy because you typically cannot move them to Canada and they are typically very difficult to sell. You end up stuck with this investment in the US which forces you to keep an account open in the US, any income it produces is subject to US taxes, etc. Overall, it just adds a lot of complexity to your life.