Benefits Plans - Retirement Savings Plans: Rollovers and Transfers -
Direct Transfers

TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments

  Basic Plan 403(b) SRA Contributions

Current Employees

Former Employees

At any age

At any age

What is a direct transfer?

A direct transfer is a tax-free transfer made directly between investment carriers under a 403(b) plan and is not considered a distribution that results in a taxable event to the account holder. These are sometimes called a “90-24 Transfer” in reference to IRS Revenue Ruling 90-24 that permits transfers between investment companies in a 403(b) plan. See the Cash Withdrawals, Rollovers, Transfers, and Loans Chart (PDF) for a comparison to other options.

How does a direct transfer work under the U-M Retirement Plan?

A direct transfer allows you to move your U-M Retirement Plan accumulations between TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments.

Who is allowed to make a direct transfer?

Revenue Ruling 90-24 allows current employees, former employees, or a beneficiary of a former employee to transfer accumulations between a 403(b) plan’s investment carriers.

When can I make a direct transfer?

You can transfer accumulations between TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments at any time, whether you are an active, inactive or ineligible employee, even after you have terminated your employment with the university.

Aren’t TIAA Traditional accumulations under additional restrictions?

Yes. Accumulations in TIAA Traditional in the Basic Retirement Plan are not available for lump-sum cash withdrawals, rollovers, or transfers. These transactions occur over a nine-year period through a process called the TIAA Traditional Transfer Payout Annuity. Contact TIAA-CREF for information on how this process works. Note this does not apply to TIAA Traditional in the SRA, which may be transferred in a lump sum.

Are direct transfers allowed to companies other than TIAA-CREF and Fidelity?

No. TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments are the two companies for the University of Michigan Retirement Plan. You must be eligible and elect a rollover to move accumulations out of the university plan and into another investment carrier through an IRA or another employer’s retirement plan. See Rollovers for more information.

Is a transfer different than a rollover?

Yes, these are two distinct types of transactions. There are differences such as when you may choose a transfer versus a rollover plus there are implications for taxation, minimum distribution rules at age 70½, and loss of certain plan features on rollovers that do not affect transfers.

How does a transfer differ from a rollover?

A direct transfer is used to move accumulations between investment carriers within an employer’s retirement plan. Federal regulations place several compliance and tracking requirements on direct transfers that the employer must meet, even for transfers to an investment carrier outside of the employer’s own retirement plan. Therefore, most employers limit direct transfers only to investment carriers under their own retirement plan, in order to service the accounts for plan participants and meet federal regulatory mandates.

A direct rollover is a cash withdrawal that moves the distribution into another investment vehicle, like an IRA. The employer’s compliance and tracking responsibilities are eliminated once the funds are cashed out of their plan. Since the employer is no longer required to administer the account, the cash withdrawal may be rolled over to another investment carrier using a different funding vehicle like an IRA, 401(k), or 457(b). Therefore, you must be eligible for a cash withdrawal under an employer’s retirement plan in order to elect a rollover.

Can I make a direct transfer to an IRA?

No. Federal regulations allow direct transfers only to another employer retirement plan. An IRA is not an employer-sponsored plan but an individual account and cannot accept a direct transfer. You have to elect a rollover to move accumulations to an IRA. See Rollovers for more information.

Can these issues affect how I manage a transfer or rollover?

It is critical that you know which type of transaction you are asking for so the investment carrier will send you the correct paperwork.

Example: if you want to move accumulations between TIAA-CREF and Fidelity you should ask for a direct transfer. However, you may receive a direct rollover application if the investment carrier is not clear on your intentions. This will delay your transfer until the correct paperwork is received.

What do I need for a direct transfer?

Open a U-M account with TIAA-CREF and/or Fidelity so the direct transfer will have a destination account ready to accept the assets.  You may open your account online by going to the TIAA-CREF and/or Fidelity microsites listed below.


  • Go to:
  • Select the type of plan for which you want to create an account
  • Follow the screen prompts to create your account

Fidelity Investments

  • Go to:
  • Select the type of plan for which you want to create and account
  • Follow the screen prompts to create your account

What are the U-M plan names and numbers and why do I need them?

The direct transfer forms will ask into which U-M plan you want to rollover assets.  The following lists the U-M plan types and their corresponding record keeping number with each investment company.  You will need to indicate the plan names and numbers on the rollover forms to ensure they are deposited into the correct plan you intend.

Plan Name and Types of Contribution

Plan Number

Plan Number

University of Michigan 403(b) Basic Retirement Plan

  • Your 5% or 4.5% contribution as a voluntary participant on all eligible earnings.
  • Your 5% or 4.5 contribution on earnings up to the FICA wage base ($118,500 for 2015) if you are a compulsory participant (you are age 35 or older, have at least two years of service as a regular faculty or staff member, and have a 100% appointment).



University of Michigan 401(a) Basic Retirement Plan

  • Your 5% or 4.5% contribution on earnings exceeding the FICA wage base if you are a compulsory participant in the plan effective 7/1/1989 or later.
  • All U-M contributions.



University of Michigan 403(b) Supplemental Plan

  • An elective deferral you make as a fixed-dollar amount.
  • This amount is separate from the 5% you contribute to the Basic Retirement Plan.
  • There is no U-M contribution to this plan.



University of Michigan 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan

  • An elective deferral you make as a fixed-dollar amount.
  • There is no U-M contribution to this plan.



Contact the investment carrier you want to receive the transfer and ask for the direct transfer form. For example, contact Fidelity if you want to transfer some of your account balance from TIAA-CREF to Fidelity.

  • Tell TIAA-CREF or Fidelity how much you want to transfer: the entire account balance or just a portion, the Basic Retirement Plan, SRA or 457b, your contribution or just the University contribution. This will determine how many forms they will send to you.
  • Complete the direct transfer application (including amounts to be transferred, from which investment funds, and into which investment funds at the receiving carrier) and return it to the investment company you want to receive the transfer.

Is employer authorization needed for a direct transfer?

No. Since the accumulations are being moved to an investment carrier within the U-M Plan, employer authorization is not required.

Anything else I need to do for a direct transfer?

Yes, if you want to change which company will receive your future payroll deductions. Submitting the direct transfer and account applications only move accumulations already on deposit; it does not change where your monthly payroll deductions go.

Use Self Service > Benefits on Wolverine Access to submit and finalize changes to your existing enrollment to designate which company receives deductions taken from your future paychecks.

Using Self Service > Benefits

Make your changes on Self Service > Benefits through Wolverine Access by following instructions below. Click the link in each step to view an illustration of the corresponding self-service page.

Log in to Wolverine Access

  1. Go to the Wolverine Access Gateway at
  2. Select the Faculty & Staff tab
  3. Select Employee Self-Service
  4. Enter your uniqname and password to log in

Select Initiate Retirement Savings Elections

  1. Select Benefits on the Self Service page
  2. Select Initiate Ret Savings Elections
  3. Select the button that reads Select this option to Enroll/ Change/Cancel Your Basic Retirement Savings Plan or your Supplemental Retirement Account (SRA)
  4. Select Next
  5. Review the effective date and select Continue to proceed
  6. Select the Select button at the bottom of the page

Change your vendor allocationsBasic Retirement Savings Plan

  1. Review the current Basic Plan investment vendor allocation.
  2. Select Edit under the option “Retirement Vendor”.
  3. Review the current Basic Plan investment vendor allocation.
  4. Enter your new vendor allocation and then select Store.
  5. Review your elections and select OK.

Change your vendor allocationsSRA plan – TIAA-CREF

  1. Select Edit for the SRA vendor with whom you wish to invest or make a change. In this example TIAA-CREF is selected. For Fidelity skip to the next section.
  2. Select TIAA-CREF SRA
  3. Enter your contribution amount and then select Store
  4. Review your elections and select OK

Change your vendor allocationsSRA plan – Fidelity

  1. Select Edit for the Fidelity SRA.
  2. Select Fidelity SRA
  3. Enter your contribution amount and then select Store
  4. Review your elections and select OK

Save and submit your changes

  1. Select Submit to save your elections
  2. Read the information on the Submit Benefit Choices page, scroll down and select Submit
  3. Review your confirmation number and submitted elections; select Return to Enrollment to view your event status
  4. Review your enrollment status

Sign out of Wolverine Access

  1. Select Sign Out at the top of the window to securely log off.
  2. Select Log Out to continue the process to securely log off.
  3. Select Log Out to complete the process to securely log off.

Is “grandfathered” status for minimum distribution lost during a direct transfer?

No. Accumulations attributable as of December 31, 1986 retain their grandfathered status under a direct transfer. The receiving investment carrier will track any pre-1987 amounts that are transferred so that minimum distribution does not have to begin until age 75 as opposed to age 70½ on post-1986 amounts. This preservation of grandfathering status is lost when you rollover funds out of TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments under the University of Michigan Retirement Plan and into an IRA or another employer’s retirement plan.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

You can speak with a consultant with TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments for questions and to request forms to process a direct transfer at the following numbers:

TIAA-CREF 800-842-2776
Fidelity Investments 800-343-0860

You can also meet with a consultant from TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments for questions or help on completing the applications. To make an appointment with a consultant assigned to work with the University of Michigan Retirement Plan call:

TIAA-CREF 734-332-3500
Fidelity Investments 800-642-7131


The University of Michigan in its sole discretion may modify, amend, or terminate the benefits provided with respect to any individual receiving benefits, including active employees, retirees, and their dependents. Although the university has elected to provide these benefits this year, no individual has a vested right to any of the benefits provided. Nothing in these materials gives any individual the right to continued benefits beyond the time the university modifies, amends, or terminates the benefit. Anyone seeking or accepting any of the benefits provided will be deemed to have accepted the terms of the benefits programs and the university's right to modify, amend or terminate them.