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401K account Lost in transistion of a merger

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  • 401K account Lost in transistion of a merger

    State of Texas

    12 years ago I was laid off at a company that was recently bought by
    another company. Prior to being laid off, I had signed for a
    hardship loan from my account. I was vested in the company, and for some
    strange reason, my 401K accoount was lost in transistion. Neither the
    previous fund manager or the new fund manager can tell me where my money is. After being tossed between the two I gave up. It was strange to me because they had my personal information such as acct#, name, etc.

    This was during the 90's when the market was doing fantastic.

    About 4 years ago, I wanted to role over my funds that remained after the manager paid off the Hardship loan. I thought my funds were still intact. How do I find my funds. Could it be in a holding account somewhere other than the State Comptrollers offfice?

    It just so happens that the fund manager from my previous employer who lost my 401K is also the fund manager for the company where I have been employed now for the past 12 years. I have a "gut" feeling I have money somewhere in hiding . I would like to know how to find my lost 401K.

  • #2
    You can contact the federal Department of Labor (202-693-4650). They have jurisdiction over employers' retirement plans.


    • #3
      Act now

      401K accounts do not get lost. Not at all. Maybe they get liquidated. Maybe they get defalcated. Maybe they get merged. But they do not get lost. Either some monkey business is going on or someone really dropped the ball on this one.

      whatever, ERISA imposes a strict duty on all fiduciaries of qualified plans. This would include, generally, the sponsoring company, the company which manages the accounts (if contracted outside), the fund administrator, the board of trustees (if applicable), etc. However, generally financial advisors and legal advisors are not fiduciaries. in any event, fiduciary standard is a pretty rigid standard, and funds cannot go "missing". you should contact the former Pension Welfare Benefits Agency (now the dol office of benefits compliance or something) and ask they investigate. you should write letters and make phone calls. you should holler from the mountaintops. do something. you may also consider an erisa claim. but you should do something since the more time passes the harder it is to resurrect. also, erisa has a 6 year statute of limitations. if you knew 12 years ago that the account was missing, you may have passed that limit, depending on what you were told.

      curt j.


      • #4
        Pension Welfare Benefits Agency

        Curt, do you mean the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation? If so, they only are involved in defined benefit retirement plans (i.e. bonafide pension plans). The federal DOL is the agency to call for 401(k) and other defined contribution Plan irregularities.

        Something definitely not right happened here. As you say, 401(k) accounts do not get lost. But I agree that the statute of limitations to make a complaint may well have passed years ago.


        • #5
          PBGC, PWBA, its all soup to me!

          The PBGC, as I understand it, is the agency which financially bails-out pension funds (kinda like the FDIC for banks). I believe the PBGC is financed through a fee or tax on ech pension fund.

          The pwba is the agency which monitors and enforces the nations' myriad benefits laws (namely erisa), which obviously includes pension and welfare plans, but also 401k's (to my knowledge). I used them to recover 401K benefits for a local union here in Jersey where the Employer wouldn't abide by a federal Judgment and levying on the business would have put the company out of business and thus the members out of jobs. The PWBA has different enforcement mechanisms which a Judgment creditor does not have. Anyway, the PWBA is now known as the EBSA (employee benefits security administration - i had to look it up). I mistakenly told the board the PWBA was the Pension Welfare Benefits Agency, it was formally the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration. Whatever. the PWBA/EBSA are both DOL departments/divisions, but generally each state has a particular office for the PWBA/EBSA separate from the DOL offices (well, maybe in the same building).

          Point is, if an aggrieved person wants to prusue this, sending a letter to the general dol office might fall into a black hole. for this poster, the local ebsa office is:

          Dallas Regional Office
          525 South Griffin Street, Room 900
          Dallas, TX 75202-5025
          Roger Hilburn - Director
          Tel 214.767.6831
          Fax 214.767.1055

          anyone can find more about this agency at

          -curt j.


          • #6
            Thanks for the info on 401K problem in Texas

            I appreciate your answers concerning my 401K. I will act now knowing that I still have time to check on it again. I was just at wits end when I was being tossed back and fort between the two fund managing companies. My suspicions were that a small amount of money was still there after they paid off the hardship loan. I was told by an associate that the hardship funds is supposed to be separate funds from your regular account.

            Besides that I just can't seem to settle with the whole idea of not knowing.

            I will start with the DOL as you suggested.

            Bev Banks


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