John Hancock Retirement Income & Rollover Solutions recently formed a new unit designed to assist 401(k) plan participants who wish to consolidate their retirement accounts into their qualified retirement plans with John Hancock.

The Consolidation Services group — which presently includes 13 employees with three positions to be added in the near future — will relieve some of the administrative burden from plan sponsors and their financial advisers, who often try to provide such guidance, but for whom it is a major distraction from their main responsibilities, John Hancock says.

"More than 50% of plan participants have more than one 401(k) or other qualified retirement plan," says Art Creel, EVP, Sales & Marketing, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services. "Many of these participants have told us that they want to consolidate accounts, but that they find the process daunting, slow and cumbersome. With Consolidation Services, we offer a value-added service to participants that helps increase satisfaction among the participant, the plan sponsor and the adviser."

Consolidation Services is staffed with specialists whose sole purpose is to support participants throughout the process of moving outside retirement accounts into their qualified retirement plans with John Hancock. Participants are given the opportunity, on their enrollment forms, to indicate that they would like assistance, or they may directly call John Hancock's Consolidation Center. Specialists help answer questions, support participants through the process, and help with all the necessary paperwork. Then, once the paperwork is submitted, the assets are rolled over into the John Hancock plan.

"Participants have account balances of $30,000 on average that they wish to consolidate, without creating additional work for themselves or the plan sponsor," says Rahim Rajpar, VP, John Hancock Consolidation Center. "Once a participant tells us they want assistance, we work with them, and depending on the situation, we may even get on the phone with former plan providers in order to complete the transfers."

Carrie Burns writes for Insurance Networking News, a SourceMedia publication.

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