With a more mobile workforce and concerns about leakage, the ability for plan participants to consolidate multiple 401k plans and even IRAs or so-called roll-ins is gaining traction. Retirement Clearing House, the leading provider of roll-in services offers a short, online tutorial on the basics and benefits of roll-ins.
What is a “Roll-In”?
Put simply, a “roll-in” occurs when a participant elects to make a rollover contribution of qualified retirement savings from a former plan or IRA, and into their current, active employer-sponsored plan.
Why are roll-ins getting attention?
- Policy-makers and plan sponsors have begun the realize the advantages of lifetime participation in employer-sponsored plans, and portability of retirement savings is an important element to support that.
- Roll-ins are the best way to consolidate retirement savings, as participants change jobs.
- Most plans accept roll-ins. PSCA’s 58th Annual Survey revealed that 98% of all responding plans indicated that they accepted roll-in contributions
What are the benefits of roll-ins?
For participants, roll-ins:
- Consolidate retirement savings
- Reduce fees from holding multiple retirement accounts
- Simplify retirement planning
- Are proven to decrease the incidence of cashouts
For plans, roll-ins:
- Increase average balances
- Enhance financial wellness metrics
- Can serve to reduce plan fees (through increased average balances)
- Improve the effectiveness of in-plan retirement income solutions
How do roll-in transactions work?
There are 3 basic elements to a roll-in transaction:
- Determine the receiving plan’s roll-in requirements
- Who’s the recordkeeper of the new plan?
- What forms & documents are required? Are they electronic or paper-based?
- How’s the contribution check to be made payable?
- Distribution from the former plan
- Contact former recordkeeper
- Identify distribution requirements
- Complete, sign and transmit distribution forms
- Determine the destination of the contribution check
- Contribution to your current plan
- Complete, sign & transmit contribution forms to your new recordkeeper
- Verify receipt of the required forms, along with the roll-in contribution check
The IRS Rollover Chart
Early in the roll-in process, one particularly useful document is the IRS’s Rollover Chart, which provides a matrix indicating which types of transfers between plans are allowed.
What can go wrong with roll-ins?
In a word, a lot. Let’s just examine some issues that can occur on the distribution side.
Distributing institutions may:
- Have overly-complicated paperwork, including up to 10 pages of complex documents.
- Make distribution paperwork hard to access, insisting on mailing hard copies, vs. making them available electronically
- Require documents that are difficult to obtain, including:
- Personalized letter of acceptance from the receiving institution
- Personal signature of the distributing plan’s administrator
- Transfer of Asset documentation
- They may try to discourage the roll-in by soliciting an IRA or annuity
If you’re a plan sponsor interested in accepting roll-ins:
- Make sure that your plan accepts them. This should be spelled out in the plan document, in the section that addresses plan contributions.
- Increase awareness by communicating the roll-in feature to your plan’s participants
- Lastly, offer roll-in support to your participants, including providing participants with instructions and easy access to forms they’ll need for their roll-in contributions
Plan sponsors should consider a facilitated roll-in service:
A facilitated roll-in services will provide your participants with expert assistance that:
- Makes roll-ins quick, easy and pain-free, with end-to-end assistance throughout the transaction
- Fees are modest, and can be charged on a per-transaction basis, without regard to plan balance
- Importantly, the roll-in service fees can be structured as a permissible plan expense
Will participants be receptive to using a facilitated roll-in service?
- Based on the 2015 Mobile Workforce Study, the answer is a resounding “Yes” – even when they would pay for the service out of their own pocket.
- Participants are even more receptive when the plan pays for the service, where 8 of 10 employees of all generations signaled they’d use an employer-provided, plan-paid roll-in service.
- Even more surprising, the Mobile Workforce Study found that a large percentage of participant — but particularly Millennials — would consider rolling in IRA balances into their current plan, if the plan paid for it.
PSCA’s 58th Annual Survey also indicated that about 62% of all responding plans permit roll-ins from IRAs.