Author Topic: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money  (Read 2346 times)

BrooklineBiker

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Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« on: January 20, 2018, 05:49:41 PM »
I'm having a lot of trouble getting Newport Trust to release my funds to roll over from a 403(b) they are holding to an IRA with another company. I'd love to hear ideas on how to get them to cough up my money. Here is the background. I worked at a job from 2006 until 2011. I had a 403(b) account while at that job through Vanguard. In summer 2017, Vanguard announced they were moving all such accounts to Newport in November. Monthly fees were imposed for those who chose to keep their funds with Vanguard. After the changeover, fees continue for those who keep their funds with Newport. In November, I sent a package of forms to Newport to withdraw my funds and with a request they send them to Fidelity for transfer to an IRA. Sounds simple, yes?

Apparently, not. The forms for the transfer were provided by Vanguard. I had called Newport prior to submitting the forms to ensure they would accept Vanguard's distribution forms. They said yes. (As of last week, I couldn't find an alternative form on Newport's website.) My former employer signed off on the form indicating that I had left my employment. Newport is insisting the documentation is inadequate and that they need a telephone call from my former employer to confirm I've left my employment. I will say I went to great difficulty to get that letter from the old employer. The agency has downsized considerably & all my friends there have long since left. There is no chance of a call coming from them. Starting the week of January 10, 2018, I've called Newport two or three times to check status on the release of my funds. Wait times average 40 minutes or more on the phone and no one ever calls back. I should add that no one from Newport called me after I submitted my request for the return of my funds to let me know they found my employer's response on the Vanguard form was insufficient. Anyone have ideas on how to shake my funds loose?

sokoloff

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2018, 06:20:29 PM »
I always (meaning "all three times") start the transfers with the brokerage or mutual fund house that will be the new custodian of the funds and let them "pull" the money. That has seemed to go smoothly; my theory is that they have more incentive [they'll be getting some fees for AUM] than the people losing the fees.

Knapptyme

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2018, 06:26:19 PM »
^That's the way I did my one rollover so far, too. Have Fidelity fight the good fight with Newport for your money.

GizmoTX

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 06:59:49 PM »
Contact Fidelity.

plog

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2018, 07:41:38 PM »
We got a free 30 day xm radio subscription with our new car.  Day 25 the calls started trying to get us to join--'No thank you'.  Day 26 to  day 35-'No thank you, please stop calling'.  Day 36-in a calm and polite tone-'Im not an asshole, but it seems you left me no other option.  If you call me again I will pick up the phone and immediately scream obscenities at you. Please make a note and have a good day'.  Day 37 & 38 I made good on my promise and they stopped calling.

Sometimes honey just doesn't work and you need to use vinegar.  Now, screaming obscenities isn't going to work for you, but making someone sick of you calling everyday probably will.  Call everyday, ask about the progress, debate  with them, be cordial but annoying and borderline confrontational, ask for a supervisor, ask for the supervisor's supervisor--make everyone in the office recognize your voice instantly and sigh in pain when they do. 

Make them want to get rid of you. When companies require you to be an asshole--oblige them.

HipGnosis

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 08:33:38 PM »
Have and keep a log of all communications with Newport Trust and Fidelity.   Jot down as much as you can remember so far.
Fidelity should help you with this, but if not...
Contact your state Bank Regulator / dept.  You can find it online.
Be prepared to write out all the details - easily done w/ copy & paste from your log.  The more details you include the better.
 

Brother Esau

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2018, 09:35:16 AM »
Contact Fidelity and have them take care of it for you.

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2018, 08:03:23 PM »
Contact Fidelity.
Hi Gizmo,
At the beginning of this process, I asked Fidelity if they would handle the paperwork, etc. They refused. Do you have thoughts on how I might persuade them to take on this process? Are there other companies that always handle rollover paperwork?
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 08:10:32 PM by BrooklineBiker »

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2018, 08:05:05 PM »
Have and keep a log of all communications with Newport Trust and Fidelity.   Jot down as much as you can remember so far.
Fidelity should help you with this, but if not...
Contact your state Bank Regulator / dept.  You can find it online.
Be prepared to write out all the details - easily done w/ copy & paste from your log.  The more details you include the better.
Hi HipGnosis,
That is all good advice, thanks. I called the Mass. Secretary of State's Office last week but haven't heard back yet.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 08:09:47 PM by BrooklineBiker »

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2018, 08:08:26 PM »
We got a free 30 day xm radio subscription with our new car.  Day 25 the calls started trying to get us to join--'No thank you'.  Day 26 to  day 35-'No thank you, please stop calling'.  Day 36-in a calm and polite tone-'Im not an asshole, but it seems you left me no other option.  If you call me again I will pick up the phone and immediately scream obscenities at you. Please make a note and have a good day'.  Day 37 & 38 I made good on my promise and they stopped calling.

Sometimes honey just doesn't work and you need to use vinegar.  Now, screaming obscenities isn't going to work for you, but making someone sick of you calling everyday probably will.  Call everyday, ask about the progress, debate  with them, be cordial but annoying and borderline confrontational, ask for a supervisor, ask for the supervisor's supervisor--make everyone in the office recognize your voice instantly and sigh in pain when they do. 

Make them want to get rid of you. When companies require you to be an asshole--oblige them.

I'd love to keep calling but the hold times are brutal. I have asked to speak with supervisors but Newport seems to have a policy against letting me talk with them. I guess I'll have to eat the time and call.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2018, 09:12:55 PM »
Contact Fidelity.
Hi Gizmo,
At the beginning of this process, I asked Fidelity if they would handle the paperwork, etc. They refused. Do you have thoughts on how I might persuade them to take on this process? Are there other companies that always handle rollover paperwork?

That is odd. You called them, told them you had an old 403b with X company and want to move it to Fidelity, and they told you thanks, but no thanks?

It may be that you'll need to convert that 403b over to a rollover IRA first with the crappy old company.

Contact Fido again, ask to speak to a manager with 403b expertise, and explain this stuff to them and ask for their help to get this process figured out so you can get your account and money over to them ASAP. If they legit have no clue, then the following is my (possibly convoluted and wrong but worth a try) suggestion.

It seems like the sticking point might be the type of account since it's not in IRA format. You can't transfer a non-IRA account to an IRA; I believe you have to convert that 403b in situ first, THEN transfer - like to like - so has to be an IRA at Newport first, then fill out the paperwork (with Fidelity) to move the Newport IRA to a Fidelity IRA.

So first off, check if you can open a rollover IRA account online at Newport and move the 403b from your Newport 403b to a Newport rollover IRA. If so do this ASAP. THEN fill out the Fidelity paperwork and have THEM pull the funds over into a Fidelity rollover IRA. Should take less than 2 weeks and you can bug them to keep on Newport until they get things moved over.

If/when you get this figured out, the process online should be here:

https://www.fidelity.com/customer-service/transfer-assets
^if you want to do it online (which may not be possible if you need signature guarantees)

So otherwise, you go here: https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060_www_fidelity_com/documents/customer-service/transfer-assets-to-fidelity.pdf

Print out the forms, get the needed signatory stuff (local Fidelity shops can provide the medallion signature if your own bank won't) and mail them in.

In either case, Fidelity should then take control of the transfer process and you can get them to crack the whip on the old company.

And do report Newport anyway because they are deliberately being jerks for withholding your account access, and deserve some close scrutiny for lousy business practices if they won't even speak to their customers.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 09:14:50 PM by Frankies Girl »

Lulee

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2018, 09:18:14 AM »
Hi there neighbor to the south!  Along with the absolute necessity of keeping a log as HipGnosis said of all contact with both Newport and Fidelity and the state over this matter, have you thought of going to one of the local TV stations to see if their consumer advocate would take up your cause?  Something like http://boston.cbslocal.com/call-for-action/ or http://boston.cbslocal.com/category/news/i-team/ might work.

Not sure if this other Mass government agency would help, https://www.mass.gov/get-consumer-support, but they might have an angle that would work.  Their site says "The Attorney Generalís Office can help you find information you need as a consumer and help you resolve disputes with businesses. Our Consumer Advocacy & Response Division (CARD) can answer your questions, refer you to a wide network of consumer assistance services, or, in some cases, directly assist you in resolving your problem." so it sounds like an avenue to pursue.

If I got the right group when looking up Newport Trust, they're based out of NH instead of MA.  Maybe our Attorney General's consumer help people (https://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm) would be worth contacting as well.

Oddly, as I Googled around to see if anyone else found them hard to work with, I stumbled on an article from last August stating that Vanguard is outsourcing some of their 403(b) record keeping to Newport (http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20170807/FREE/170809944/vanguard-outsources-some-403-b-record-keeping-to-newport-group).  I wonder if you were transferring your 403(b) to Vanguard instead of Fidelity, if things would be going smoother.  Didn't stumble over any complaints about them in my quick search if that makes you feel any better about this.

HipGnosis

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2018, 10:45:18 AM »

BuildingmyFIRE

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2018, 10:56:20 AM »
Brookline Biker:  You need to send a MGL c. 93A demand letter.  That will get their attention.  Google Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, c. 93A.  Make sure you follow the statutory requirements, and send it to their legal department (call and ask for the contact information for legal if you can't find it online).  It never fails to get their attention. 

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2018, 05:33:31 PM »
Contact Fidelity.
Hi Gizmo,
At the beginning of this process, I asked Fidelity if they would handle the paperwork, etc. They refused. Do you have thoughts on how I might persuade them to take on this process? Are there other companies that always handle rollover paperwork?

That is odd. You called them, told them you had an old 403b with X company and want to move it to Fidelity, and they told you thanks, but no thanks?

It may be that you'll need to convert that 403b over to a rollover IRA first with the crappy old company.

Contact Fido again, ask to speak to a manager with 403b expertise, and explain this stuff to them and ask for their help to get this process figured out so you can get your account and money over to them ASAP. If they legit have no clue, then the following is my (possibly convoluted and wrong but worth a try) suggestion.

It seems like the sticking point might be the type of account since it's not in IRA format. You can't transfer a non-IRA account to an IRA; I believe you have to convert that 403b in situ first, THEN transfer - like to like - so has to be an IRA at Newport first, then fill out the paperwork (with Fidelity) to move the Newport IRA to a Fidelity IRA.

So first off, check if you can open a rollover IRA account online at Newport and move the 403b from your Newport 403b to a Newport rollover IRA. If so do this ASAP. THEN fill out the Fidelity paperwork and have THEM pull the funds over into a Fidelity rollover IRA. Should take less than 2 weeks and you can bug them to keep on Newport until they get things moved over.

If/when you get this figured out, the process online should be here:

https://www.fidelity.com/customer-service/transfer-assets
^if you want to do it online (which may not be possible if you need signature guarantees)

So otherwise, you go here: https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060_www_fidelity_com/documents/customer-service/transfer-assets-to-fidelity.pdf

Print out the forms, get the needed signatory stuff (local Fidelity shops can provide the medallion signature if your own bank won't) and mail them in.

In either case, Fidelity should then take control of the transfer process and you can get them to crack the whip on the old company.

And do report Newport anyway because they are deliberately being jerks for withholding your account access, and deserve some close scrutiny for lousy business practices if they won't even speak to their customers.
Hi,
Thanks for explaining the background of what may be going on. I'll follow up with this approach.

BrooklineBiker

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Re: Mutual Fund Co Won't Distribute My Money
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2018, 05:36:32 PM »
Hi there neighbor to the south!  Along with the absolute necessity of keeping a log as HipGnosis said of all contact with both Newport and Fidelity and the state over this matter, have you thought of going to one of the local TV stations to see if their consumer advocate would take up your cause?  Something like http://boston.cbslocal.com/call-for-action/ or http://boston.cbslocal.com/category/news/i-team/ might work.

Not sure if this other Mass government agency would help, https://www.mass.gov/get-consumer-support, but they might have an angle that would work.  Their site says "The Attorney Generalís Office can help you find information you need as a consumer and help you resolve disputes with businesses. Our Consumer Advocacy & Response Division (CARD) can answer your questions, refer you to a wide network of consumer assistance services, or, in some cases, directly assist you in resolving your problem." so it sounds like an avenue to pursue.

If I got the right group when looking up Newport Trust, they're based out of NH instead of MA.  Maybe our Attorney General's consumer help people (https://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm) would be worth contacting as well.

Oddly, as I Googled around to see if anyone else found them hard to work with, I stumbled on an article from last August stating that Vanguard is outsourcing some of their 403(b) record keeping to Newport (http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20170807/FREE/170809944/vanguard-outsources-some-403-b-record-keeping-to-newport-group).  I wonder if you were transferring your 403(b) to Vanguard instead of Fidelity, if things would be going smoother.  Didn't stumble over any complaints about them in my quick search if that makes you feel any better about this.

I strongly suspect it would be easier to work with Newport if I was keeping my money with them or Vanguard. However, I'm angry at Vanguard so I will be working on withdrawing *ALL* of my funds from them over the next year.