Skip to main content

You are here

News > News Archive > QOTW: Missing Accounts



QOTW: Missing Accounts

A member reached out wanting to see if other companies do anything to help participants track down lost 401(k) accounts. She stated she receives a lot of questions from employees asking about tracking down a 401(k) plan from a former employer that is now out of business, closed, moved, or it is simply hard to find information. Eighty percent of respondents to this week’s QOTW stated they do not do anything to help employees with this with only 8.1 percent stating they do, and 12.2 percent unsure (most stating this hasn’t come up before). In the comments many who said they do not do anything to help participants track down lost accounts stated they would help the participant search or provide information to them on where to look. More comments follow:

  • For old pensions, we would refer to PBGC, but we have not received this question re 401ks.
  • I always recommend they contact their previous employer and then give them rollover papers or contact information for our current 401k record keeper so if they so choose to roll it over once located they have what they need.
  • I am presuming they mean with former employers.  We do not.
  • I have never had a request from an employee to track down a 401(k) plan from a prior employer.
  • I would suggest they contact the DOL office closest to them. I personally have been contacted by the DOL on behalf of a participant looking for an old 401(k) account.
  • No one has ever asked this question in our organization.
  • Perhaps  the DOL/IRS should have a help line number dedicated to this issue.  As fiduciaries, i don't think we have the responsibility to track old 401k accounts.
  • This is reflective of someone not maintaining good records of their financial circumstances.  Also, I wouldn't think it would be a current employer's responsibility to assist with tracking down an employee's former 410K. I can't see how they would be better equipped to do the work, given the reach of the today's internet.
  • We certainly would help, but have not received any requests
  • We do plenty of searching to locate missing participants from our plan but haven't had any inquiries from current employees to help locate their benefits from other employers.
  • We don't have the resources to offer this.
  • we don't provide help with this
  • We have never thought to offer any assistance.  Seems to be a personal issue for the employee.  Would definitely being willing to assist and employee but currently we would not know how to go about tracking down a lost 401K.
  • We just track down lost shareholders and beneficiaries
  • We provide some guidance of where to look but that is all.
  • We would respond on an ad-hoc basis to support these efforts for employees.  To my knowledge, we have not received such a request from employees.
  • We've never encountered this issue.  I'm not even sure I'd know where to begin other than to reach out to our current provider and advisors for assistance on where to begin.
  • Would offer suggestions / information to assist in the individual's personal investigation.
  • I don't think this has come up. We would probably refer them to the DOL but maybe try to help them through the process to learn how it works.
  • I'm sure correspondence was sent to ptpts prior to the closing, so where is the ptpt's responsibility?
  • If this occurs we would direct to employees to our Broker and/or 401(k) Administrator for assistance.
  • Never been asked that in my 20 years at a large employer (over 7,000 employees). Not sure how I'd address it.  I do get asked how to find retirement from companies we've acquired employees and assets from and keep a list of contacts for that.
  • Never had this situation come up.
  • We have not had this request as of yet.
  • We partner with a financial advisory firm to assist employees with all sorts of money advice needs. They may help with that.
  • Having terminated plans before, I encourage them to reach out to the 401k provider to find out if it has been transferred to a force out account. Also to use Linked In to find form HR employees who likely know someone to contact.
  • I would either help them investigate or give them suggestions or resources to find the right people to help them.
  • Investment advisor helps them out.
  • We have never had this issue.
  • we will try to see if we can figure out who the recordkeeper is for the former plan.  If we can, we will provide contact information to for the recordkeeper via google search.