I have managed two IRA accounts; one I inherited from my wife's 401K and my own's 457B. I managed actively my wife's 401 at Tradestation which doesn't restrict on Options except level 5 as naked puts and calls. I moved half of my 457B funds to TDAmeritrade, the only broker authorized by my employer, to open a Self Directed account. However, my 457 plan disallows me from using a Cash-secured Puts, only Covered Calls. For those who does not know investing, I resent the contention that participants to these IRAs should not be messing around with their IRA funds. For years, I left my 401k/457B funds with my current fund custodian, Great West Financial. I checked it's current values once or twice a year. These last years, the market dived in the last 2 quarters of 2015 and another dive early January and February of 2016. I lost a total of $40K leaving my portfolio with my current custodian choosing all 30 products they offer, 90% of them are ETFs and the rest are bonds.
If you don't know investing, better leave it with the pros - right? But no one can predict the future of the market. Even the pros are at the mercy of the market. So, I you know how to invest and choose your stocks, I don't think your plan administrator has to limit you on how you manage your funds. For example, if you are not allowed to place a Cash-Secured Puts and you just Buy the stocks or EFT at market or even limit order, you buy the securities at their market value. If you sell a Cash-secured puts against the stocks/ETF you are interested in buying, you will receive a credit in fraction of a dollar in a specific time frame. In average, your cost to owning a stock/ETF is lesser if you buy it at market or even a limit order. Most of the participants of the IRA funds rely too much on their portfolio manager because they don't know how to manage. If you try to educate yourself at a minimum, you will have a good understanding of how your IRA funds are tied up to the market. If you know how to trade in bear market compared to bull market, then you are good at managing your investments. When I started contributing to my employer's deferred comp account (457B) as a public employee, I have no idea of how my portfolio works. Year after year as I looked at my investment, I was happy because it continued to grow. Without scrutinizing how much it grew yearly, and my regular payroll contribution, I am happy even it only grew 2% per year. And at this age that I am ready to retire at 60, I started taking investment classes and attended pre-retirement seminars. Then I knew that it was not totally a good decision to leave your retirement funds in the hands of the portfolio manager since they don't really care if it tanked out on some years as long at overall it grew to a meager 1%-4% because they managers are pretty conservative on picking the equities they invest. You can generalize that maybe 90% of IRA investors don't know about investing and have poor decision making actions which securities/ETF to buy and hold. For those who would like to remain as one, that is fine. But for those who spent time and money to study and know how to invest, I don't think the plan manager can limit the participants ability to manage their own portfolio especially if the funds have no matching from the employer like mine. All I can say to all who have IRA or any retirement accounts, educate yourself early because if you leave it all to your portfolio managers, you lost a lot. Don't believe much in what those commercial fund managers also show in their presentation just to move your funds for them to manage. Be proactive. If you start learning how to invest now when you are young, JUST DO IT!