Best RESP Providers in Canada

Choosing the best RESP provider involves considering factors such as reputation, fees, investment options, and customer service.

Here are 5 of the best RESP options for Canadians:

1. Big Banks and Credit Unions
2. Wealthsimple Managed RESP
3. Questrade Managed RESP
4. Justwealth Managed RESP
5. iA Financial Managed RESP

RESP Provider Managed Self-Directed
Big Banks and Credit Unions Yes Yes
Wealthsimple Yes No
Questrade Yes Yes
Justwealth Yes No
iA Financial Group Yes No

1. Big Banks and Credit Unions

All big banks and most credit unions will offer RESP related solutions.

The big 5 banks for example allow you to open a self-directed RESP within their Direct Investing units.

You can also opt for a hands-off managed approach and choose to have a financial advisor make all of the investing decisions based on inputs for you.

While many Canadians have a relationship at a big bank and therefore default to keeping there RESPs at the same institution, there are several other Canadian options available at competitive rates.

2. Wealthsimple Managed RESP

Wealthsimple is Canada’s leading commission-free brokerage.

Its RESP investment account supports both individual and family RESPs and all grants (CESG, CLB, etc.) are automatically contributed.

Fees:

  • 0.5% for investment accounts with under $100,000 in asset value
  • 0.4% for investment accounts with over $100,000 in asset value

3. Questrade Managed RESP

Questrade has a managed investment service platform called Questwealth Portfolios that offers RESP plans.

Similar to Wealthsimple, government grants are contributed automatically.

Fees:

  • 0.25% for investment accounts with between $1000 and $100,000 in asset value
  • 0.20% for investment accounts with over $100,000 in asset value

It should also be noted that any ETFs bought in the portfolio will have an incremental fee charged of 0.17% to 0.22%.

4. Justwealth Managed RESP

Justwealth is the only Canadian online investment manager that offers Education Target Date portfolios.

Target Date funds offer a mix of stocks, bonds and other investments as part of a single solution.

Designed to match the child’s age for when they will enter university, the Target Date portfolio will periodically rebalance its asset class weights automatically.

Effectively, this means that at the start, the portfolio will be heavy on assets that offer high returns with higher risk.

As the maturity date nears, the portfolio will rebalance towards lower risk assets.

Fees:

  • 0.50% for investment accounts below $500,000
  • 0.40% for investment accounts with over $500,000 in asset value

5. iA Financial Managed RESP

iA Financial is one of the largest insurance and wealth management companies in Canada.

They offer a managed RESP product that allows you to choose one of the following investment approaches:

Segregated Funds

These are investment funds that offer a combination of insurance and investment features.

They provide the growth potential of a mutual fund with the added security of an insurance guarantee, which can protect a portion of the invested capital.

High-Interest Savings Account with a 100% Capital Guarantee

This is a more conservative investment option.

It offers a steady interest rate and is best suited for those who prefer a low-risk approach.

The 100% capital guarantee ensures that the principal amount invested is protected.

 

Related: What is a RESP and what are the different types

Choosing the Right RESP Provider

There are a number of things to think through when choosing a RESP provider.

Reputation and Trustworthiness

When selecting a RESP provider in Canada, it is essential to consider their reputation and trust worthiness.

Look for providers with positive reviews,testimonials, and a track record of fulfilling their financial obligations and commitments.

A provider with years of experience and a strong reputation is more likely to possess the expertise and stability needed.

Reputational factors can also be influenced by the provider’scustomer service,transparency, andresponsiveness.

Evaluate their communication channels and how theypromptlyand professionally address customer concerns.

Fees and Charges

Consider the financial implications of fees before deciding on a provider.

  • Administration Fees:RESP providers may charge for account administration and management.
  • Trading Fees:Providers charge fees for buying and selling investments in your account. These fees can significantly impact returns if you actively manage investments.
  • Annual Maintenance Fees:Many providers charge an annual fee for account maintenance. The fees vary depending on the provider and the type of RESP.
  • Contribution Fees:Certain providers may charge a fee for each contribution made to your account.
  • Transfer Fees:If you transfer your RESP to a different provider, there may be associated fees.

Investment Options

When considering investment options for yourRESP, consider the following:

  • Risk tolerance:Determine your willingness to take risks with investments. Higher-risk options like stocks offer potential for higher returns but come with increased risk of also going the opposite direction.
  • Growth potential:Look for investment options with potential for long-term growth. Consider stocks, mutual funds, and index funds.
  • Cost:Consider fees associated with each investment option. Look for options with low management fees to protect your returns over time.
  • Time horizon:Consider when you will need education expense funds. Longer horizons allow for more risk and investment in growth-oriented options. Shorter timeframes favour conservative options like bonds or GICs.
  • Diversification:Spread investments across different asset classes to reduce risk. Invest in a mix of stocks, bonds, and other assets.
  • Professional advice:Consult a financial advisor specialized in RESPs. They can help you understand investment options and create a personalized strategy based on your goals and risk tolerance.

Customer Service and Support

  • Responsiveness:It is important to choose a good RESP provider that promptly answers queries and addresses any concerns you may have.
  • Accessibility:Look for a provider that offers various channels for customer support, including phone, email, and live chat.
  • Knowledgeable staff:The customer service team should be well-informed about RESP rules, investment options, and government grants.
  • Prompt documentation:Efficient customer support includes quickly processing paperwork, such as contribution receipts and withdrawal requests.
  • Educational resources:A reputable RESP provider should provide educational materials to help investors understand the program and make well-informed decisions.
  • Account management:An effective customer support team will assist with tasks such as updating beneficiary information, changing contribution amounts, and monitoring investment performance.
  • Issue resolution:The customer service team should have a fair and transparent process for resolving issues or disputes.
$100 bill going into a piggy bank with RESP written on it

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the key features of the best RESP plans in Canada?
  • Which RESP providers in Canada have low fees and diverse investment options?
  • What is the importance of government grants in RESPs?
  • Which RESP providers in Canada offer flexible investment options and no minimum deposit requirement?
Harshil Dhanky

Harshil Dhanky is a financial services professional based out of Toronto, Ontario with extensive experience in the Canadian banking industry across Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver in the capital markets, asset management, and lending sectors.

In the past, Harshil has worked with a range of consumer lending websites, personal finance advisors, investment managers, insurance companies, and other financial institutions to write and edit whitepapers, articles, blog posts, and other collateral read by consumer audiences to help them make better financial decisions.

His work spans a wide range of Canadian personal finance topics including savings and retirement programs, debt management tips, mortgages and personal loans, and other key financial issues for Canadian consumers at each stage of their life.