Hmm. That strange line appeared in my InvestorLine RRSP statement. It seemed to be related to my latest Norbert Gambit, which is a way to save money with currency exchanges. All have gone reasonably smoothly until recently when I was hit with a mystery interest charge.
To exchange Canadian dollars for U.S. dollars, I have bought the exchange-traded fund DLR that trades in Canadian dollars and then sold the equivalent ETF DLR.U that trades in U.S. dollars. The idea is simple enough, but a mistake with some accounting generated an interest charge that shouldn’t be there.
To make everything balance out, InvestorLine adds some extra transactions to the Norbert Gambit trades. I did the trades on a Monday. This means that the trades settled three days later on Thursday. So my account statement showed a buy of DLR units and a sell of DLR.U units. To balance things out, InvestorLine added a transfer out of DLR units and a transfer in of DLR.U units. Unfortunately, they accidentally showed these extra transfers as taking place on Wednesday instead of Thursday. Oops.
So, this means InvestorLine computers thought my account was short units of DLR on Wednesday (“short” means I held a negative number of shares). I was charged 21% interest for one day which amounted to over $40. Maybe the rate was so high because I was using an RRSP account where margin isn’t permitted.
InvestorLine quickly agreed to reverse the charge, but if I hadn’t noticed it and called them, I don’t think this would have been fixed. The moral of the story is to check your account statements for unusual activity. This is easy to overlook when you have online account statements.