RRIF Account Types
As the figure below illustrates, there are two basic types of Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) accounts to choose from when opening an RRIF:
Just as with Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) accounts, the fundamental difference between these two types of accounts is the type of investments that can be held in each account. The following section outlines the rules that govern these two RRIF account types:
Note: Both RRIF accounts must follow the same guidelines as set out by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Regular RRIF account
A Regular RRIF account is typically opened with a financial institution and the eligible investments are typically restricted to the financial institution’s proprietary options. For example, when you open Regular RRIF accounts with a bank, the investments available to you will typically be those issued and managed by the same financial institution (i.e. the bank’s Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), the bank’s mutual funds, and the bank’s savings accounts).
Investments offered by other financial institutions and individual securities that trade in organized exchanges are not typically available to those that open a Regular RRIF account.
Note: For more detailed information regarding Regular RRIF accounts, see the section Regular RRIF Account.
Self-Directed RRIF account
If you would like to invest your RRIF savings in investments that are not available through a Regular RRIF account, then your best option would be to open a Self-Directed RRIF account.
A Self-Directed RRIF account provides the greatest range of investment options and the greatest flexibility. A Self-Directed RRIF account enables you to invest in any and all qualified investments. You can still invest in individual GICs and bank mutual funds, but you will also have greater flexibility to invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and over 17,000 mutual funds available in Canada. You can also hold common shares, preferred shares, government and corporate bonds, currencies and investments that represent commodities such as Gold, Silver, Oil, Natural Gas, Copper, etc.
Note: For more detailed information regarding Self-Directed RRIF accounts, see the section Self-Directed RRIF (SDRIF) Accounts.