This page goes through the process of opening a corporate investing account. It is a paper application and people often get stuck on some of the jargony tax treatment questions. Don’t worry, I have done some leg work to make this easy. Particularly, if you have a service-based corporation (like a professional corporation).
There are some advantages to having both personal (RRSP/TFSA/RESP/Cash) and corporate investment accounts at Qtrade. While your corporation will be a separate entity and client number, having a personal client number speeds up the process. If you have a personal Qtrade account, your client number will be beside your account names in the account summary section.
They will also link your corp account so that it is all on your personal login & dashboard. Further, they house accounts by address for special benefits. So, your accounts, spouse accounts (if you live together), and corporate account (if housed at your address) all contribute to the $500K threshold for their premium service. So, if you have other accounts already, then great. If not, no biggie. This process works for both situations.
In The Wrong Spot?
Internal Navigation For Opening Corporate Investing Accounts
Related Quick Links
Step 1: Gather what you will need
Your CRA Business Number
This is a nine-digit number analogous to a SIN for your corporation. You can find it on a corp tax filing, corp notice of assessment, or payroll T4 filing. The 9-digits often are followed by either RC0001 or RT0001. If you are incorporated, it will be RC0001. The RT0001 is used if it is a business, not incorporated, but with a GST/HST number.
If you can’t find those documents from interacting with CRA, then another spot to look is on a T5 issued to your corp by whatever investment manager you currently use. It will be the recipient identification number in box 22. The slide show below shows examples of what it could look like. They will want to know if the nine digits are followed by RC0001 or RT0001 (for corporation, put RC0001).
Your Certificate of Incorporation
This is a piece of paper that is issued by the province, territory, or government that you incorporated within. It is often near the front of a binder you may have gotten with your articles of incorporation. If you can’t find it, your accountant or lawyer likely have a copy. If you still cannot find them, you can a copy for a small fee. We have found Ontario Business Central to be quick and reasonably priced for corps right across Canada.
Note that the number on this is different from your CRA business number.
Make a photocopy or take a picture and print a copy of this to include in your application submission. For Ontario, it could look like this:
Photocopy (or printed photo) of both sides of Government issue photo ID (like a driver’s license or passport).
Banking Information to link to your corporation’s bank account
A void personalized cheque with your corporation’s name on it, or a direct deposit form printed from a pdf file from your online banking.
Account statement if you are transferring investments/cash from another brokerage.
This makes filling the account transfer documents easy. Make or print a copy to include in your package to make the transfer go smoothly.
Recent correspondence from Federal or provincial government with both your corporation’s info and your name on it.
It has to be from the last 12 months. Further, it must have all 3 of: Corp name, corp address, and the names of corporate director(s) – ie you. The easiest options are to either use your last proof of corporate tax filing, articles of incorporation (if <12 months).
Corporate search & profile report.
The compliance officers at Qtrade will often request that you send a corporate search & profile report. This is a document from government that gives up-to-date corporate information. The best way to do this is through Ontario Business Central. Note: I am not affiliated with OBC. We have just used them personally and found them to be a quick/cheap option after having used several different ones. The OBC site works for all provinces (not just Ontario). People often get stuck on this. So, the slideshow below shows how to get this report easily. They will email you a pdf that you can save and print out.
Step 2: Corporate Account Application Form
You can download a blank application from the forms section of the Qtrade site or I have made a partially filled application. It is pre-filled with the usual answers for a medical professional corporation to make it quicker and easier, but you still need to personalize it and double check that it is correct for your situation. I will go through each section of the form along with some commentary.
Section 1: Account Details
For client ID, if you have other personal Qtrade accounts, you can use your client ID (6 number/letter code beside your name on your account summary). Your corporation will get its own ID since it is a separate legal entity, but your ID can speed up the application. If you do not have one yet, no problem, just leave it blank. Unless you are an aggressive and sophisticated investor, you will likely want to open a simple Cash account.
Slide show below shows where to find your client ID if you already have a personal Qtrade account. Don’t worry about it if you don’t – just leave it blank on the form above.
Section 2: Entity Information
The information in this section is for your corporation (not your personal information).
Section 3: Authorized Person Information
This is for a director/president of the company who can sign and transact. For a professional corporation, it would be the professional. It is your personal information. For the email, use the email that you used to make your login (or plan to use) so that the corporate account links to your dashboard.
Section 4: Investment Profile
This is a legal requirement for opening any investment account anywhere in Canada. It is basically their “know your client” information in case there are flags about your ability to invest. Don’t obsess about being super-precise – a ballpark should be ok. It is for corporate income and property (not your personal house & accounts).
Section 5: Other Interests In The Account
The answer to these questions will be “no” for most of us using a professional corporation to DIY invest. Possible exceptions, your corporation is owned by another corporation or someone other than your spouse. You are taking a loan dedicated to opening this account. Someone else has POA or is going to manage your corporation accounts for you. Consider for your own situation.
Section 6: Electronic Funds Transfer
Electronic fund transfer (EFT) is to link your Qtrade corporate investment account to whatever corporate bank account you use. This makes it easy to move money back to your corporate bank account electronically. That is why you want to set it up right away.
You can also bring money into your Qtrade account using EFT, but the “bill payment” method is faster. Money deposited through EFT has a 10-day hold. Once you have your Qtrade corp account number, you can use that to make a payment to Qtrade Investor to that account number from your bank account. That makes for a transfer and availability of <24h usually.
In addition to ticking yes in the form above, you also need to print out an EFT form, fill it, and attach a void cheque or a bank provided account information printout.
You will put your corporation’s name, select “New EFT” & “All eligible accounts”. You can leave the client ID blank since you don’t have it yet. Attach your void cheque or banking info.
Section 7: Information Required By Regulators
Read the questions and answer for your situation. I put common ones for a professional corporation.
Section 8: Communication With You About Your Securities
Section 1: Disclosure of ownership. You can object to sharing your information. However, if you put in section 2 that you do want shareholder materials then you will have to pay for delivery. If you share your information, the materials in part 2 usually get mailed by the company for free.
Section 2: Receiving Materials: Personally, I don’t vote at shareholder meetings and reems of company info won’t change my index investing. Nor do I want the big booklets from reports clogging my mail-box. So, I opt to not receive materials and save some trees. You will need to decide what makes you comfortable. If you are planning to trade penny-stocks, you will want materials (plus anything else you can get to offset the stress and financial discomfort of that strategy).
Section 9: Consents & Acknowledgements
Pretty self-explanatory. A bunch of legalese & you are probably in your home office or something.
Section 10: Treaty Declaration for US income
This is important for tax treaties to avoid getting double taxed. Most of us will have income from US companies whether they are wrapped in Canadian funds or held directly. Professional corporations are a private company. Don’t forget to sign & date.
Section 11: Self-Certification
This section is basically to declare that you are not some sort of financial institution or American Entity.
Section 12: Read Agreement & Sign (self-explanatory)
Section 13: Referral (Your chance to support me to support you at no cost)
Please put The Loonie Doctor as your referring institution. You don’t need to put a name, branch, or email. I get a small referral fee that I hope will someday offset the costs of running the site. There is no cost to you, and it makes it easier for me to help you. I don’t get to see or mess with your accounts or anything crazy like that. I am happy to provide mentorship and tools to help, buy you do the DIY investing.
Section 15: Checklist & Credit Check. There are still some documents to do.
The top part of this section is a checklist. Note, that there are a couple of items on the checklist that you still have to do (account transfer if you are doing that) & a certified corporate resolution (filled and signed by you) that will be discussed next.
Step 3: Certified Corporate Resolution
Sounds complicated, but it is easy and takes about five minutes. Download the form from Qtrade. It is pretty straightforward.
Page one must be filled, signed, and dated by a corporate director, president, or secretary (usually the professional if a professional corporation) on page 1.
Page two has personal information of the beneficial owner (company owner) and trading authority. If you just have you as the trading authority, you only need to fill 3.1. Section 3.2 is identical and for the information of a second person that has beneficial ownership and trading authority. Each person on page two must sign their box. If a second person, they will need to provide photo ID for the submission package also.
In the example of page two below, both my wife and I will be able to buy/sell from my corporate account. So, I put trading authority for us both. We both also have shares in my corporation. I have 90% and she has 10%. We got that from our articles of incorporation, but it would also be in our corporate minute book. We would fill the info and both sign and both provide photo ID. If I did not want my wife to be able to buy/sell, then I would just do 3.1 with my name etc and 90% ownership.
Step 4: Transferring Account/Funds From Another Brokerage
Grab or print out your account statement from your old brokerage/managers. You will need to submit that as part of the package and it helps you complete this part easily. Download the transfer account form from Qtrade.You just need to fill it out & Qtrade will deal with your sending brokerage/manager directly to make it happen.
In section 2, indicate corporate as the account type & don’t worry about filling in your Qtrade account number etc. (since you don’t have it yet). Don’t forget to sign/date section 3 after filling it out & attach a print-out of your most recent account statement or screenshot of your account. If doing a mixed or partial transfer, you will need to fill out the appendix on the last page.
I have written another page that explains all of the different types of transfers. Note that you can only transfer from a corporate account to a corporate account (not from personal accounts). It typically takes 2-6 weeks for accounts to transfer. If there is a major delay in the transfer, you can inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org. We had that happen once and they followed up with the sending brokerage to resolve it in quickly.
Step 5: Final Check & Mailing Address
Double check that you have everything done, printed, & signed.
Double check that you have everything done, printed, & signed.
- Corporate account application (Step 2) done & signed/dated on pages 2 & 3.
- Corporate Certified Resolution (Step 3) done & signed/dated on pages 1 & 2.
- Electronic Funds Transfer Form (EFT in step 2) done & signed/dated on page1. Attach a void cheque or account info printout from bank.
- Account Transfer Authorization Form (Step 4) if transferring from another brokerage/manager. Done, signed, dated on page 1. Attach your most recent account statement or print out a screenshot of your account.
- Corporate Certificate/Articles of Incorporation
- Copy of Photo ID for you and anyone else with beneficial ownership/trading authority
- One 12-month-old government document with Corp Name, Address, your name (eg. Proof of filing, Articles of Incorporation if <12mos or Corporate Profile Report). I suggest getting a Corporate Search/Profile report regardless. Compliance often asks for it anyway, and this speeds the process.
- If corp < 3 months old, then Credit or Bank Statement, Utility Bill, cheque, or government document with the corp’s name and address on it (you likely have that already above!) for credit check.
It is on the top of the application form, but you can also help speed it by using the following:
Attn: Sidney or Chandra (Corporate Account)
Aviso Wealth / Qtrade Direct Investing
700 – 1111 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 4T6
What happens next? Expected timelines.
Your account will usually open about a week after your application arrives.
You will get an email from Qtrade to confirm a few of questions about your corporation, that you will have trading authority, and that you are a director. If you have filled something out wrong, are missing something, or attached a substandard photo – Qtrade will contact you via email. It is not a big deal. You can usually fix the problem and reply to the email with a scan/photo fixing the missing piece (unless it is a hardcopy requiring signature). If you don’t have a login and password already, then they may telephone you to confirm and instruct you to get it set up.
When you can start trading depends.
If you use electronic funds transfer (EFT) to deposit cash. With EFT, the money will appear in your new account the day after it opens. However, you can’t use that cash for 10 business days due to the hold period. If you try to use that money to place a trade, the trade will get declined. No penalty for that, you just need to wait and try again later when the holding period is passed.
The faster method to put cash in to use it is the bill payment method. Once your Qtrade account is open, use the pay bill option from inside the online banking section of whatever bank you use. You would pay to Qtrade Investor and use your Qtrade account number. Some banks don’t display the full name of the sending corporation when their software processes bill payments. That can cause the payment to reject because the Qtrade must be able to see that the name of the sending and receiving account owner matches. So, if using the bill payment method with a corp, try small amount of money to test that your bank doesn’t have that glitch.
If you transferred funds from another institution in cash or kind, it may take a while for the transfer to actually happen. It depends a lot on the sending brokerage and can take a couple of weeks to a month. You may also have some back and forth, if the sending firm tries to “save the account”. There are a few common arguments used to scare people into staying (and paying).
In the meantime, you can spend some time choosing your asset allocation, considering your asset location strategy, and what stocks, funds, or ETFs you want to use to invest with.