By Thomas Hawkins | August 15, 2016

With the advent of the Department of Labor's Fiduciary Rule, more employers are looking to promote lifetime plan participation and encourage participants to consolidate retirement assets in their current, active 401(k) plan. The plan feature to enable consolidation in the active 401(k) plan is the roll-in contribution. Retirement Clearinghouse is the recognized thought leader in roll-in facilitation. We have prepared this video - The ABCs of Roll-Ins -- as a resource for plan sponsors who are considering a formal roll-in program, as well as offering a roll-in facilitation service for their plan participants.

This video presentation is designed to give the viewer a basic understanding of the concepts of qualified plan roll-in contributions.

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:

  1. Consolidate retirement savings
  2. Reduce fees from holding multiple retirement accounts
  3. Simplify retirement planning
  4. Are proven to decrease the incidence of cashouts

For plans, roll-ins:

  1. Increase average balances
  2. Enhance financial wellness metrics
  3. Can serve to reduce plan fees (through increased average balances)
  4. 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:

  1. 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?
  2. Distribution from the former plan
    • Contact former recordkeeper
    • Identify distribution requirements
    • Complete, sign and transmit distribution forms
    • Determine the destination of the contribution check
  3. 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.

This document is easily found on the internet by using the search term “IRS Rollover Chart”

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:

  1. Make sure that your plan accepts them. This should be spelled out in the plan document, in the section that addresses plan contributions.
  2. Increase awareness by communicating the roll-in feature to your plan’s participants
  3. 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:

  1. Makes roll-ins quick, easy and pain-free, with end-to-end assistance throughout the transaction
  2. Fees are modest, and can be charged on a per-transaction basis, without regard to plan balance
  3. 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.

Please visit www. for more information about roll-ins and learn how Retirement Clearinghouse can help your plan reduce cashouts and bring retirement savings portability to your participants.