Yesterday my wife wanted to renew a GIC (CD for Americans) inside her RRSP (IRA for Americans) with the Royal Bank of Canada. A very routine transaction for a Canadian bank. As usual, she called the telephone banking number and spoke to a young man, who freaked out when he found out she lived in the USA (the address is in their computer system). He insisted he could only give her "the regular interest rate" on her GIC but his manager could give "the bonus rate" when he called back in the afternoon. The bonus rate is a little extra that they give for a particular maturity, say 0.1% extra.
We got the call from the manager who repeatedly said, in a voice tinged with fear, "..you cannot ask me for investment advice..". He kept repeating this as he asked some basic questions about risk tolerance, net worth, do you work, etc etc. He said that as a US resident, he cannot give us any investment advice but my wife kept saying she did not want any advice, she just wanted to renew her GIC. If he asked a question, he said something like "..what is your risk tolerance, understanding that you cannot ask me for investment advice..?" Because I like to stir up trouble, I kept wanting to ask him for investment advice like "..should I buy Canadian Gold Mine stocks or keep my money under my mattress?" Maybe this would cause him to hang up the phone, cancel all our accounts, have our passports revoked, and a bunch of Mounties would be sent to Virginia on horseback to arrest us. I resisted the urge and the bonus 0.1% interest was given to my wife after a last admonition to "..not ask for investment advice..".
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