Great-West Retirement Services Review & Dodge & Cox Funds Review

Years ago, Mac used to work part-time for his parents, at their machine shop. He worked there while he was in school, and even a bit after he graduated, when they were very busy and could use an extra set of hands. It was mutually beneficial for all involved. He received a decent paycheck, more than most part-time jobs, he received hands-on training, from one of the best machinists (his father), and they had a willing part-time employee, who was fine with working when needed, but didn't expect full-time hours or a full-time wage.

As part of that, what we didn't know was that when there was profit sharing, they were contributing to his 401(k). Their account was with Great-West Retirement Services, and only after he stopped working there did they tell him about the account. They've since sold the shop, and the new owner, after discovering a lack of interest in the 401(k), opted to discontinue participation in it.

Great-West rolled all of the 401(k)s into individual IRA accounts for each participant. Great, right? No!!! After comparing the rate of return for Great-West and a few other IRA providers, Mac decided he wanted to roll over his Great-West IRA into Dodge & Cox Funds, as they seem to always have a solid rate of return, and they make sound investment choices. They also don't spend money on advertising, and their costs are minimal.

Early this year, Mac started the rollover process, sending in the IRA paperwork to Dodge & Cox, along with the withdrawal request form that Dodge & Cox uses. Three months later, and three requests from Dodge & Cox later, Mac finally calls Great-West about the status of his request. They indicate that he needs to complete their withdrawal request paperwork.

He completes that and faxes it in, as apparently, per the form instructions, fax is an appropriate method of submission for these forms. Four weeks later, they still have yet to acknowledge receipt of their paperwork, let alone process anything.

His money is earning a pitiful 6%, while my IRA, with Dodge & Cox, has earned over 10% in the same period, with comparable retirement goals/funds.

There's a lot of frustration, because it's taken multiple calls, multiple emails, multiple form submissions, and his money still hasn't been moved.

If you are thinking of opening an IRA, I'd strongly discourage you from considering Great-West Retirement Services, as dealing with them is quite difficult, and the rate of return is lousy. They also charge fees galore--an annual administration fee, investment management fees, account setup fees, and even an account closure fee!!! Apparently, if you want to rollover your IRA, they make it extremely difficult, as several months later, we're still waiting for them to process Mac's request!

I would strongly recommend you at least consider Dodge & Cox Funds!!! Minimal fees, no fee to close your account, and their customer service reps are extremely knowledgeable and willing to help! When I opened my account, their website and paperwork indicated that they charged an annual maintenance fee of $12.50. I sent a check in with my paperwork, and when they processed my paperwork, they called to let me know that they would be returning the check, as they weren't charging the fee this year. They wanted to call so I wouldn't be confused, which was very nice. I've called to ask stupid questions, i.e., if it's a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA for a standard rollover request. They always answer my questions, and are genuinely happy to help!

Edited to add: After Mac sent an email requesting a status update, and then received a canned, "Please call us" email, he replied back with a fairly stern email, indicating that he was tired of all of the delays, and wanted an update. A few hours later, he received an email indicating that the withdrawal request had been processed. So, the lesson here is that you'll need to keep on top of them to actually process your withdrawal request!

Please note: nothing in this review should be construed as offering financial advice. I am not a financial adviser, nor am I providing financial advice. I am merely sharing my experience with two different financial firms. 


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