Following are some of the things you need to consider in your investment plan when moving specific investments to the US:
STOCKS – if your investment plan includes stocks; most stocks traded on an exchange in Canada can be moved to a US brokerage firm and sold when requested. Stocks listed on both a Canadian and US stock exchange will be sold on the US stock exchange and the proceeds of the sale will be in US dollars for holding in your account.
BONDS – again, most Canadian bonds (particularly those issued by the federal and provincial governments) can be transferred wholesale into a US brokerage account and sold when requested. These bonds will appear on your statement in US dollars. Like stocks, the proceeds of the sale or any dividends paid will be in US dollars for holding in your account.
MUTUAL FUNDS – despite our valiant efforts, we have been unable to transfer a single mutual fund from Canada to a US broker or US mutual fund company. Even US-based mutual fund companies like Templeton will not permit you to transfer THEIR mutual fund from THEIR Canadian subsidiary to THEIR US headquarters. 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 Canadian subsidiary to the US headquarters to no avail. After countless phone calls, written requests, etc. we gave up, sold the mutual funds and moved the cash down. Before selling, 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 the US. Liquidation of the portfolio avoids a myriad of issues but you should look at your investment plan and 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 loonies into US dollars and wire it into your US brokerage account or bank. Whatever you do, do not attempt to take a large amount of cash with you when you leave Canada through a border crossing.
PARTNERSHIPS/UNIT TRUSTS – These investments offer you a double whammy because you typically cannot move them to the US with your US investment plan and they are typically very difficult to sell. You end up stuck with this investment in Canada which forces you to keep an account open in Canada , any income it produces is subject to Canadian taxes, etc. Overall, it just adds a lot of complexity to your life.