Buying US listed stocks as a Canadian is great until you see those currency conversion fees. With an additional 1-4% added to the overall cost, the fees that come from converting Canadian dollars (CAD) to US dollars (USD) can add up quickly and even be discouraging. This is where Norbert’s Gambit comes into play.

Norbert’s Gambit is a strategy you can use to help limit those currency conversion fees when exchanging Canadian dollars to US dollars, and vice versa. This is possible because instead of using foreign exchange services to convert currency you buy shares in one currency and sell them in another with the help of brokerages.

That’s why Norbert’s Gambit is even simpler when you do it through Questrade.

For example, buying US listed stocks in Questrade with Canadian dollars comes with a 2% fee. That means for every $1000 you will pay $20 in fees. Other banks charge upwards of 3% for exchanging.

Getting Started With Questrade if you don’t have an existing account

Questrade is an online broker with competitive fees. 

You can easily sign up online and use promo code si50 for new signups. Or follow this link.

With this code you get $50 in trade commission when you open a new Questrade account.

Questrade offers free ETF buys and $4.95 sells. So your total cost will be $4.95 USD no matter how much you transfer. With that in mind, using Norbert’s Gambit may not be completely beneficial if you are investing in US listed stocks with less than $1000 CAD.

Once you’ve gotten started with Questrade, Norbert’s Gambit is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

Here is the ultimate 4 step guide to Norbert’s Gambit.

Step 1: Buy the DLR.TO ETF in Canadian Dollars (CAD)

Simply begin by buying the ETF ticker: DLR.TO offered by Horizons.

Step 2: Contact Questrade either by phone or email

If you decide you want to contact Questrade by phone, call 1-888-783-7866. Once you get in touch with them you’re going to want to ask them to journal your DLR.TO shares to DLR.U.TO.

Here is a script you can use:

“Hello, can you please journal my DLR.TO shares over to DLR.U.TO? Thank you!”

This is an important step because you are exchanging your DLR shares listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) in Canadian dollars for DLR.U which is in US dollars.

Should you want to email Questrade instead of calling them, I would recommend sending them an email similar to this:


May I please journal over my [number of shares] of DLR.TO to DLR.U.TO in my account [account number]?

Thank you,

[Your name]

Step 3: Wait 4 business days

This may be the easiest step of all. 

It will take 4 business days for you to see your shares converted to DLR.U in US dollars. This is because the whole process takes 2 days to settle and 2 days to journal, 4 in total.

Step 4: Sell DLR.U.TO in US dollars

Once your DLR.TO shares have been journaled to DLR.U.TO and is held in US dollars, all you have to do is sell it.

With Questrade, this sale will trigger a $4.95 USD trade commission.

You can also sell your DLR.U shares with a limit order at the bid price if you want it to fill instantly.

Now you’ll have your liquid cash in USD that you can use to buy US listed stocks in US dollars without paying the currency exchange fee.

Keep in mind if you want to buy Canadian dollars from US dollars all you have to do is this exact process but in reverse. So DLR.U.TO to DLR.TO.

This is Norbert’s Gambit. Pretty easy right? Happy saving!

Need a Questrade Account?

Get $50 in free trade commission using our signup link or using promo code si50 at signup.