fter a slow roll-out, the National Securities Clearing Corp.
(NSCC) is making efforts to build the use of its IRA clearing platform. The Transfer of Retirement Assets Service "ToRA" is now used by 60 fund companies, reports Scott Siebel, account manager for fund companies at the NSCC.
ToRA leverages the NSCC's Fund/SERV platform to allow fund companies to more easily and quickly transfer IRA assets between fund companies. Siebel claims that the service cuts the transfer time from two weeks or more to just 4-6 business days. ToRA can do this by leveraging existing systems, he explained at the Investment Company Institute's annual retirement conference held last week in New Orleans.
"Once a fund company is on the platform, we never see anyone leave," Siebel boasted. The NSCC is a "registered SEC monopoly," he said, meaning that it offers scale and low-cost on its platforms. It has also worked hand-in-hand with the ICI to develop ToRA. The platform also makes all users play by the same rules and use the same processes, which makes clearing the transfer more efficient, he said.
The NSCC's immediate goal is to increase the number of ToRA users and the volume of transactions. When the system was launched two years ago, only 12 fund families used ToRA. It was then known as the Retirement Assets Transfer or RATs. The name was changed for obvious reasons. Since those days, ToRA has added 48 more fund companies to its lineup.
Next on the agenda for ToRA is a reduction in the transfer fee to $0.25 per transfer.
In addition, the NSCC is looking at ways to add banks and insurance companies to the system, which is now limited to fund companies. It is also mulling over ways to tie into its ACATS broker/dealer system.
By the end of March, the NSCC expects to include 403(b) program roll-overs and Roth IRAs. It is only waiting for the final go-ahead from the SEC, Siebel reports.
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