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I got confirmation of my rollover on the phone but checked back 3 days later and the process had not taken place. I did this with the understanding that my fund holdings would be liquidated and then the cash sent to the IRA account.

In the time since requesting the rollover the market has dropped precipitously and I've incurred losses as a result. Also I now have to wait longer for the cash to be available. Any advice in terms of my recourse?

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    Did you initiate the rollover with the 401(k) provider or with the IRA provider? – stannius Mar 12 '20 at 15:58
  • With the 401k provider. They only wanted the name of the IRA provider for cutting the check. – Brian Mar 12 '20 at 16:17
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You need to expect at least one (business)day for them to process the request, day 2 is the sale, day 4 is the settlement (T+2), day 5+ is the transfer; if they mail a paper check, it needs up to five more days. So anything less than a full week would be quite surprising, and up to two weeks would be 'normal'.

It's not a bad idea to call and verify (or logon and check yourself); if the order is being executed, you can just wait it out. If it wasn't executed at all, you can blame the them, but there is little hope to get anything out of it.

A cancellation - even if possible - seems to be the worst of all ideas, as it would put you back in the invested situation, which gives you the brunt of the losses, so don't ask for that.

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Call both (401k and IRA) and ask to cancel the rollover. Expect that they may not be receptive to your request for all kinds of reasons. If you don't get the answer you want, try calling back and talking to another rep.

Alternately - request an "in kind" rollover. That will transfer the securities instead of liquidating them and transferring cash. See this reference: https://thefinancebuff.com/rollover-401k-stay-in-market.html

Those will help you avoid market losses, which may or may not be what you have in mind by "recourse" in the situation.

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  • Thanks. I wanted them to cash me out so that I could avoid market losses. I then wanted quick access in my IRA to reinvest the cash to take advantage of recent opportunities. My point is that by not initiating the rollover, I not only incurred market losses, but have delayed access to the cash. – Brian Mar 12 '20 at 18:20
  • You might ask the date they will use for the liquidation to help decide what you want to do. I have done a number of these rollovers, and they are not done quickly like regular orders. It sounds like you were attempting a timely move by a method that is not timely. – Steve I Mar 12 '20 at 21:51
  • The 401K provider knows they screwed up. They confirmed that the liquidation of my funds should have been done by COB the day I requested the rollover or the day following. The calls are recorded, so they can't deny my request and the confirmation I received. They said they'll make me whole but need time to calculate gains/losses from the rollover date. – Brian Mar 20 '20 at 10:18

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