Choosing an RESP provider

The company that sets up your RESP is called the plan provider or promoter. RESPs from a financial institution — like a bank, trust company or mutual fund dealer — work a lot like any other investment account. RESPs offered by scholarship plan dealers are set up differently and have different rules.

8 questions to ask

  1. What fees are you expected to pay? When do you have to pay them?
  2. Do you have to make regular contributions? If so, what happens if you miss a contribution?
  3. What investment options are available?
  4. When and how will payments be made from the plan?
  5. What kinds of post-secondary programs qualify?
  6. Are the plan’s rules more restrictive than the government’s rules on which programs qualify? Find out which programs may qualify.
  7. What happens if your beneficiary doesn’t continue with their education after high school?
  8. What happens if you want to cancel the plan? Is it easy to get your money out? Will you have to forfeit your earningsEarnings For companies, it’s the money they make and share with their shareholders. For investors, it’s the money they make from their investments.+ read full definition?

Use this checklist to help you decide. Learn more about choosing an RESP provider.

Who offers RESPs

Take a look at this list of RESP providers in Canada. It also tells you which government grants each provider offers.

If you have a problem with an RESP provider

If you can’t resolve a problem directly with the provider, you have options.

4 questions to ask
  1. What are the fees?
  2. What are the rules for getting payments?
  3. What happens if your child doesn’t continue their education?
  4. What happens if you want to cancel the plan?

Caution

You have 60 days to cancel plans provided by scholarship planScholarship plan A type of Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) that pools together the money of many investors. An investment manager invests the money for you, often in lower-risk, fixed-income investments such as bonds and GICs. Enrolment fees are often high and there may be strict rules.+ read full definition dealers without any penalty. Be sure to read and understand the rules outlined in the short Plan Summary provided in the plan prospectusProspectus A legal document that sets out the full, true and plain facts you need to know about a security. Contains information about the company or mutual fund selling the security, its management, products or services, plans and business risks.+ read full definition.

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