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Subject:  Transferring a Roth Date:  1/9/2001  6:09 PM
Author:  adamw13 Number:  27057 of 88763

I know 4,000 people ask this a day - but please bear with me ... I'm not sure anyone has asked this in relation to John Hancock.

Years ago, I was set up with an IRA with Hancock. I didn't know anything at the time. In Dec. '98 - going on good advice, I converted it to a Roth. OK - now, it's 2 years later, and I'm a lot more well-versed on the market. I opened my own brokerage account with Datek, and I'm happy (relatively - the whole market is bad - but that's another story).

Now, because with Hancock you are limited to only their very weak, underperforming funds, I want to transfer and open an account with Datek. The only positive to Hancock is, I can contribute and I don't have to pay $9.99 per transaction. But, their funds are bad, so I think it's worth the difference.

Anyway, I know, I know - "Datek will have the forms I need" ... and that's fine. But has anyone dealt with Hancock? They have to be the dumbest people on creation, and I have called them numerous times.

The problem here is, Datek doesn't offer Hancock funds. So, in order to transfer, I'd have to liquidate my Hancock funds, and then transfer. This, despite assurances from Datek, makes me VERY paranoid that it would be considered a distribution. It's not Datek I'm worried about, it's Hancock.

So, I called Hancock, and told them what was going to happen - and they told me it's not possible. Hancock cannot just liquidate funds into cash - the money has to belong to a particular fund. There's no such thing as a "cash" portion of my IRA at Hancock. They basically told me I was stuck with them forever.

Not only that - but with Hancock, there is no one singular account number for my IRA. Each fund you have as part of the IRA, has its own account number. Which is a pain in the ass. So, after much discussion with Hancock, what it comes down to is, you actually have multiple Roth IRA accounts - one for each fund you have. It's insane. That part doesn't really matter to my question - but it's just another thing to add to my frustration.

Then, I got some woman at Hancock tell me that I wasn't allowed to make a contribution to a Conversion Roth IRA ... you see, I haven't made one since the conversion, and I want to now - even though I know I'm going to be transferring the account soon. After staring at the phone in disbelief for a while - I'm thinking, "that can't be right" -- so I called back again, and another guy told me some other story about how, yes, I could make a contribution - but I have to keep separate accounts for Converted Roth IRAs and regular Roth IRAs.

They are completely clueless. I know at one time it was worth keeping separate converted accounts from regular ones, but, from having read the Fool, I know that's no longer necessary.

Thus, you know why it scares me that anything I ask Datek to do, will come back to haunt me ...

So - I call Datek back. It's after hours, so no IRA people are on hand to help. I got the general desk. Still helpful. I explained to them how paranoid I was about doing this ... I said I was afraid that if I asked Datek to make a transfer, and then Hancock liquidates the funds but records it as a distribution, I'd be screwed.

The Datek person then said she "thinks" that, even if that were the case, I have 60 days to move that money to another qualified account without any tax repurcussions. That I could basically ask for a redemption on all my Hancock IRA funds, have them send me a check -- deposit the check -- then write a new check to Datek.

So ... sorry to be so damn long-winded, but, does anyone know if that's true? It would make life easier and make me less paranoid.

After all that verbiage ... I'd be happy with a one-word answer :-) - if that's all it takes.

Adam W.
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