[SOLVED] Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

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Topic Author
ReverseEngineer
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 08, 2024 5:13 pm

[SOLVED] Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by ReverseEngineer »

Hi, I hope I can ask here for some general advice on how to handle this. I'm trying to rollover my balance from a prior employer's 401k plan (through OneAmerica) into my current employer's plan. My current employer's plan requires the rollover check be payable to "PLAN NAME for benefit of MY NAME" or "PLAN NAME FBO MY NAME." They strictly require this specific language in the "pay to the order of" field of the check. I don't know whether or not this is normal/routine, but it's my situation.

OneAmerica sent me a rollover check, but they made the check payable to "PLAN NAME" without including the FBO. I submitted the check to my current employer's plan anyway. They denied the rollover request and cited the payable field as the reason. I called OneAmerica to have the check reissued, and they sent me a second check with the same information. I called a third time to have it corrected, and they ended up telling me there is a character limit in their software that prevents them from writing the entire FBO string on the check. They can only issue the check payable to "PLAN NAME" or to some abbreviation thereof that fits within their character limit. They suggested I call my current employer's plan and figure out a string that would work with the character limit (which, they did not tell me what it is).

I called my current employer's plan and the CS rep was adamant that the check must be made out as per their instructions, no substitutions. I asked if we could arrange a conference call with OneAmerica to figure this out, and they said no to that as well.

I don't know what to do. OneAmerica says they are unable to issue the check in the way that my current employer's plan strictly requires. I'm frustrated because I feel like this shouldn't be my problem. My funds are in limbo with OneAmerica because of a past failed rollover attempt, they aren't invested at all and are just waiting to be transferred over to a new plan. I am a financial layperson with little understanding of how retirement accounts work. I tried searching online to see if anyone else has had this issue and I had no luck. I understand there are other ways to do a rollover but they might involve penalties for early withdrawals if done incorrectly. Can anyone suggest what the proper or most effective course of action would be? Should I insist that OneAmerica cut the check as I need it, or would I be better off working with my current employer's plan to accept the check as is? Thanks a lot for reading!
Last edited by ReverseEngineer on Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
toddthebod
Posts: 6785
Joined: Wed May 18, 2022 12:42 pm

Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by toddthebod »

ReverseEngineer wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 5:34 pm Hi, I hope I can ask here for some general advice on how to handle this. I'm trying to rollover my balance from a prior employer's 401k plan (through OneAmerica) into my current employer's plan. My current employer's plan requires the rollover check be payable to "PLAN NAME for benefit of MY NAME" or "PLAN NAME FBO MY NAME." They strictly require this specific language in the "pay to the order of" field of the check. I don't know whether or not this is normal/routine, but it's my situation.

OneAmerica sent me a rollover check, but they made the check payable to "PLAN NAME" without including the FBO. I submitted the check to my current employer's plan anyway. They denied the rollover request and cited the payable field as the reason. I called OneAmerica to have the check reissued, and they sent me a second check with the same information. I called a third time to have it corrected, and they ended up telling me there is a character limit in their software that prevents them from writing the entire FBO string on the check. They can only issue the check payable to "PLAN NAME" or to some abbreviation thereof that fits within their character limit. They suggested I call my current employer's plan and figure out a string that would work with the character limit (which, they did not tell me what it is).

I called my current employer's plan and the CS rep was adamant that the check must be made out as per their instructions, no substitutions. I asked if we could arrange a conference call with OneAmerica to figure this out, and they said no to that as well.

I don't know what to do. OneAmerica says they are unable to issue the check in the way that my current employer's plan strictly requires. I'm frustrated because I feel like this shouldn't be my problem. My funds are in limbo with OneAmerica because of a past failed rollover attempt, they aren't invested at all and are just waiting to be transferred over to a new plan. I am a financial layperson with little understanding of how retirement accounts work. I tried searching online to see if anyone else has had this issue and I had no luck. I understand there are other ways to do a rollover but they might involve penalties for early withdrawals if done incorrectly. Can anyone suggest what the proper or most effective course of action would be? Should I insist that OneAmerica cut the check as I need it, or would I be better off working with my current employer's plan to accept the check as is? Thanks a lot for reading!
I don't have advice an getting them to fix the problem. One possible workaround is to rollover internally to one of their IRAs, then ACATS to an IRA at another company (e.g., Fidelity), then doing a reverse rollover into your new employer plan.
fabdog
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Location: Williamsburg VA

Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by fabdog »

you should stay after OneAmerica. that's a completely lame excuse. Having done my own transfers, and helped my kids/sister with theirs, multiple custodians have all done the Plan name/Brokerage firm FBO person. They insist on doing it that way.

You can try reaching out to your previous employer, To see if they can help.

Or you can try complaining to CFPB but not sure this is an area they address.

Hang in there

Mike
Topic Author
ReverseEngineer
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Joined: Wed May 08, 2024 5:13 pm

Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by ReverseEngineer »

Thank you for your responses! I have asked around and performed what research I could on this subject, and the impression I’m getting is the fault is with OneAmerica. It seems to be normal for rollover checks to be issued to the plan FBO the participant. So that is the direction I’m heading to get this resolved.

I called OneAmerica again today and insisted they issue the check correctly. The rep I got was more helpful than others. She did say their standard practice is to include the FBO info on the check stub, which is typically sufficient. She was the second rep who had never seen this issue before. She opened a request with the “distribution department” to review my support case and contact me directly to figure out how we can proceed. I’m now waiting on them to get a hold of me.

I’ll continue posting updates as I get them. I would still appreciate anyone’s insight as to which aspects of this situation are normal and which aren’t.
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samsoes
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Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by samsoes »

Roll to an IRA instead. Then to your employer plan.
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urban
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Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by urban »

Can they do a direct rollover from custodian to custodian?
https://www.forbes.com/advisor/retireme ... the%20rest.
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Watty
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Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by Watty »

Check to see if you can file a Fina complaint about the situation. (I don't know if they qualify as a brokerage or not.)

https://www.finra.org/investors/need-he ... -complaint

If you can file that people have posted that it will get a very quick response since basically their legal department and CEO level people are being held accountable for the situation if there is a valid problem and there can be all sorts of repercussions.

You can search the board for past threads where "Fina complaint" was mentioned.
delamer
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Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by delamer »

samsoes wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 3:02 pm Roll to an IRA instead. Then to your employer plan.
My thought too, if the new plan will accept a rollover from an IRA.
One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not. - Alexandre Dumas, fils
peterw
Posts: 178
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2024 12:13 am

Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by peterw »

Can you get the reps from both custodians on a three-way call to sort it out amongst themselves?
LotsaGray
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Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2023 2:08 pm

Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by LotsaGray »

peterw wrote: Thu May 09, 2024 8:13 pm Can you get the reps from both custodians on a three-way call to sort it out amongst themselves?
Did you read where this exact thing was attempted?
diy60
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:54 pm

Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by diy60 »

OP, I have done multiple rollovers over the last 8 years or so. All of the checks have been Receiving Custodian FBO My Name. I would elevate at OneAmerica until you find someone who knows what they are doing. If that doesn't work, maybe use the IRA route as suggested up thread. Double check with your current plan, my employer had some restrictions.
Winthorpe
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Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:29 am

Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by Winthorpe »

fabdog wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 7:02 pm you should stay after OneAmerica. that's a completely lame excuse. Having done my own transfers, and helped my kids/sister with theirs, multiple custodians have all done the Plan name/Brokerage firm FBO person. They insist on doing it that way.
This has always been my experience with 401k rollovers, too. The checks are always payable to "New Employer 401(k) Plan, FBO Louis Winthorpe III"

This is 100% a problem with OneAmerica.
Topic Author
ReverseEngineer
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 08, 2024 5:13 pm

Re: Retirement plan won't issue a correct rollover check

Post by ReverseEngineer »

Hi all, this has been solved. All my research led to a consensus that this was on OneAmerica's end. So I called their support line once more and insisted the check be made out as per my original request. This support rep seemed to be better able to understand my request and the issue they were giving me. They passed my request to the distribution team, who ended up issuing a third check. This third check was made payable to my plan FBO my name, though the payable field also included my mailing address in a new line. I guess their workaround was to copy/paste the info in the check's address field into the payable field (yes, the checks included "FBO my name" in the mailing address - no I don't know why either). Anyway, I passed that check onto my current employer's plan, with my fingers crossed the address thing would not cause more problems. They accepted it and the funds were rolled over. So like y'all said this ended up being 100% a OneAmerica issue. I don't know why it was such a problem for them to issue a check in a manner that I understand is completely normal, but luckily I'll never have to deal with this again. Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer. Have a great day!
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