Based on this definition of self directed RRSP: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/selfdirectedrrsp.asp

It seems all RRSPs, by default, are self directed, because the 'owner determines the asset mix' always; as far as I know.


The term self-directed generally refers to RRSP accounts where the account holder has not only the ability to determine a basic investment asset mix (such as can be accomplished even with a limited selection of mutual funds) but, more specifically, the self-directed account holder has a much wider choice of financial instruments beyond mutual funds, GICs, and/or cash savings.

A self-directed RRSP generally permits the account holder to also invest or trade directly in financial instruments such as:

  • bonds (including governments and corporates),
  • public company stocks/shares/unit trusts listed on a stock exchange,
  • exchange-traded funds (ETFs),
  • purchasing call and put options,
  • writing covered call options,
  • ... or even holding a mortgage on a property.

Those kinds of instruments are not typically available in a non-self-directed mutual fund or bank RRSP. Typical mutual fund or bank RRSPs offer you only their choice of products – often with higher fees attached.

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