It’s primarily a paperwork process. Specifically, the steps are as follows:
- Regular (Non retirement) brokerage accounts, mutual funds, and IRAs:
You would sign paperwork to open an account and have the investments transferred. For the most part, the shares are transferred “in kind” which means the investments remain as they are currently invested until they are deposited into your account at Royal Alliance. Once everything has arrived, we would reevaluate the recommendations you approved to make sure they are still appropriate, and review final recommendations with you before we made any trades on your behalf.
The transfer process can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on where you currently hold your accounts. The transfer system (referred to as the “ACAT” system) is very efficient, and we will make sure all shares transfer into your new Royal Alliance account. We do suggest you keep on the lookout for residual deposits that may be made after the shares have transferred, which may occur if a dividend or capital gain has been declared, but not deposited yet. That will be apparent when you receive a statement from your prior custodian and we can re-sweep the account for you.
- 401k Rollovers, Pension Plan Rollovers
First and foremost, we will want to make sure a 401k or pension plan rollover from a prior employer is even appropriate for you. In some cases it is not, so we will walk you through the pros and cons and you will see a list of those in your financial plan. Assuming a rollover is in your best interest, a rollover is relatively easy:
- You would call the #800 number listed on the top of your 401k statement
- Once you have answered the security questions, you will want to tell the customer serve representative that you would like to initiate a “Rollover of your 401k or pension to your IRA”.
- They will either do this for you right then over the phone, or send you paperwork which we can help you fill out.
- The most important detail is that you tell the representative that the check should be made payable to “SunAmerica Trust Company”. Most companies will put “FBO John Smith” in the memo section of the check, so that everyone knows it is for your account. Most 401k and pension plan providers will send the check to your home address (or the address they have on their records for you). Also keep in mind that even though the word “rollover” is often used, this is actually considered a “trustee to trustee transfer”, which under a recent change in the law, is better for you. If your current 401K or pension custodian can wire the money directly into your new Royal Alliance IRA, we will be happy to provide you those instructions.