1.4
12 reviews
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IRA
Principal Financial Group IRA

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Principal Financial Group IRA
 
1.4

(based on 12 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (10)

17%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Cudos for Princiapl Financial Group

I had a 401k through my employer which was invested with Principal.  I could go online and check my investment activity.  That is a MUST for...Read complete review

I had a 401k through my employer which was invested with Principal.  I could go online and check my investment activity.  That is a MUST for me.  I can makes changes when I please from one type of investment to another.  Still, there is always my appointed reliable and knowledgeable investment broker ready to answer questions by phone.

I am now receiving a small monthly disbursement.  It is automatically deposited to my checking account, and always on time.

My 401k was rolled-over to an IRA, invested in the Life Time 2010.  It is doing just fine where it is. 

I have not had one problem with the handling of my 401k or my present IRA. 

Principal Financial Group is a great company with which to do business.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Customer service and financial advance are not priority #1

 **Principal Financial Group as a 401k administrator**

I recently started with a company that uses Principal as its 401K admin. I knew trouble was afoot when I started...Read complete review

 **Principal Financial Group as a 401k administrator**

I recently started with a company that uses Principal as its 401K admin. I knew trouble was afoot when I started reviewing the funds in which I was going to invest my 401K contribution.  All the funds are 'private', i.e., not regulated by the SEC, and they do not provide a prospectus (nor offer much information about the funds). The pool of funds is small - about 2-dozen. No money market funds. One fund is a real estate fund that has a history of refusing sell orders until months have passed. The expenses for their funds are 2-3 times higher than comparable funds administered by another well-known 401K admin company.

One bond fund they run hijacks the name of a retail bond fund that pays dividends. Their version of the fund with the same name does not pay dividends. Dishonest, misleading - I don't know which. 

The reporting available on the 401k website is horrible, e.g., it's extremely difficult to review what you paid for a share of any fund in the past (and their website is the only source for this data). I finally figured out you have to display a graph of the fund's share price and then click on a point on the graph's price line corresponding to the date for which you want a price. A request to simply provide a table of historical prices for the funds was answered "We have no plans to change our reports". 

The "current balance" and "activity" reports are equally cumbersome to use. It's very difficult to simply harvest transaction records off the website for the purpose of running your own charts. For example, they insert daily "transaction" records recording how much you have "lost" or "gained" based on the increase or decrease of the price of a share in the funds in your portfolio. Stuff like this is noise - proper transaction records should simply show contributions and purchases, their source and which fund's shares were purchased 

Principal.com customer service reps are friendly, but generally incompetent to answer questions (an exception is the Princor brokerage reps - they seem knowledgeable and provide fairly accurate answers immediately).  Each time I've called, I get "we'll need 2-3 days to research that". About 1/2 the time, a return call never comes. For the times I have received an answer, it has turned out to be wrong about 1/2 the time. I managed to exchange a few e-mails with the CSR manager. He ended the exchange with a form letter that primarily described what a 401k plan is for (!??). I guess they don't have much in their arsenal they can use to mollify dissatisfied customers. 

In an attempt to invest in funds other than their small pool of private funds, I opened one of their Princor "self-directed brokerage accounts".  They charge $75/year and $25/trade to use it - another rip-off (almost $675 per year if you trade each payday).  For the funds you can trade in, they don't honor the prospectus, e.g., they set their own rules for minimum purchases for 2nd and subsequent purchases. When I called and asked where these rules were published, I got the old "we'll need 2-3 days to research that". 

The "seam" between Principal and Princor is obvious. I won't get into the difficulty of reconciling transaction records from the Principal 401k website and the separate ones on the Princor website, but, doing so is very hard. 

I documented a comparison to another 401K admin company, talked it over with my company's mgmt and they agreed to research the other 401K admin company to determine if we should switch to the other company. I sure hope they fire Principal and select the other company! 

Principal may be the "largest", but, in my opinion, they are the worst.

 

Reviewed by 12 customers

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

They say anything to get you off the phone

By 

from Earth

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

My former employer used this company for the 401k so I had no choice. Managing your funds on the website is cumbersome and slow. They say transactions made before a certain time are good that day but it isn't true. You are also only allowed a few transactions per month.

I'm still in the middle of rolling my money over and it is a nightmare. My funds gave gone mysteriously offline and even the rep I called doesn't know why. Sent them a fax and they never got it even though I have the fax confirmation, and he said the confirmation doesn't mean anything.

  • Affiliation:
  • I received a sample

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Bad Investement

By 

from Germantown, MD

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

I had a 401k through Principal. Customers are supposed to be able to withdrawn their funds using an online application process. When I notified Principal that I no longer worked at the company I worked for, they blocked my ability to withdraw my funds using electronic forms. By the time I submitted my paper application, my account had lost over $700 in vested balance.

  • Affiliation:
  • I am an employee or otherwise affiliated with the brand

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(27 of 27 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Customer service and financial advance are not priority #1

By 

from Vienna, VA

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

 **Principal Financial Group as a 401k administrator**

I recently started with a company that uses Principal as its 401K admin. I knew trouble was afoot when I started reviewing the funds in which I was going to invest my 401K contribution.  All the funds are 'private', i.e., not regulated by the SEC, and they do not provide a prospectus (nor offer much information about the funds). The pool of funds is small - about 2-dozen. No money market funds. One fund is a real estate fund that has a history of refusing sell orders until months have passed. The expenses for their funds are 2-3 times higher than comparable funds administered by another well-known 401K admin company.

One bond fund they run hijacks the name of a retail bond fund that pays dividends. Their version of the fund with the same name does not pay dividends. Dishonest, misleading - I don't know which. 

The reporting available on the 401k website is horrible, e.g., it's extremely difficult to review what you paid for a share of any fund in the past (and their website is the only source for this data). I finally figured out you have to display a graph of the fund's share price and then click on a point on the graph's price line corresponding to the date for which you want a price. A request to simply provide a table of historical prices for the funds was answered "We have no plans to change our reports". 

The "current balance" and "activity" reports are equally cumbersome to use. It's very difficult to simply harvest transaction records off the website for the purpose of running your own charts. For example, they insert daily "transaction" records recording how much you have "lost" or "gained" based on the increase or decrease of the price of a share in the funds in your portfolio. Stuff like this is noise - proper transaction records should simply show contributions and purchases, their source and which fund's shares were purchased 

Principal.com customer service reps are friendly, but generally incompetent to answer questions (an exception is the Princor brokerage reps - they seem knowledgeable and provide fairly accurate answers immediately).  Each time I've called, I get "we'll need 2-3 days to research that". About 1/2 the time, a return call never comes. For the times I have received an answer, it has turned out to be wrong about 1/2 the time. I managed to exchange a few e-mails with the CSR manager. He ended the exchange with a form letter that primarily described what a 401k plan is for (!??). I guess they don't have much in their arsenal they can use to mollify dissatisfied customers. 

In an attempt to invest in funds other than their small pool of private funds, I opened one of their Princor "self-directed brokerage accounts".  They charge $75/year and $25/trade to use it - another rip-off (almost $675 per year if you trade each payday).  For the funds you can trade in, they don't honor the prospectus, e.g., they set their own rules for minimum purchases for 2nd and subsequent purchases. When I called and asked where these rules were published, I got the old "we'll need 2-3 days to research that". 

The "seam" between Principal and Princor is obvious. I won't get into the difficulty of reconciling transaction records from the Principal 401k website and the separate ones on the Princor website, but, doing so is very hard. 

I documented a comparison to another 401K admin company, talked it over with my company's mgmt and they agreed to research the other 401K admin company to determine if we should switch to the other company. I sure hope they fire Principal and select the other company! 

Principal may be the "largest", but, in my opinion, they are the worst.

 

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(11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Principal - I can't wait to be done with you forever!

By 

from Durham, NC

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

This was the investment company my former employer chose to use. I am convinced they chose Principal Financial Group because they were the cheapest. Well, you get what you pay for. When the market tanked - Principal Financial Group's investments really tanked. I have other investments and theirs were by far the worst. As the market improved, their funds did not improved. I wonder what in the heck they were doing managing the funds. 

I have contacted them a few times and they have been less than helpful. I left my company in February 2010 and received a handful of phone calls and letters from Principal Financial Group which almost seemed like threats. You better call us...or else. Or else what? I have been moving, getting ready for a baby, and starting a new job so I haven't called them. But once I get my act together, they will get a nice call from me to get that money out of there to some competent investors. 

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(12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Huge runaround ripoff on 401k withdrawal

By 

from Chantilly, VA

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

I lost a new home sale waiting for them to give ME MY MONEY. Endless phone calls, "we're over nighting it" Oh it didn't get there"? Cancel that one wait another 45 days. Still no check. My next call with be to the SEC.

Do not use them, they stole intersest money from me by making ME wait for my funds.

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(23 of 23 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

plagued with inefficiencies and painfully slow

By 

from Portland, OR

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

When my Father passed I was informed by his previous employer that all of the pensions and 401Ks are handled through Principal Financial group. Since my Father had a pension, I anticipated that having his money rolled over into my inherited IRA would take a bit longer than a 401K, but I had no idea that it would take more than 4 months!!! After logging over 20 calls to Principal Financial group and dealing with the terribly inefficient customer service reps, I am still waiting for the funds to come through.

As a benefits administrator of a company, I would highly, no STRONGLY discourage you from using the Principal Financial Group. There are no case managers per se, so each time a claimant calls, they get an entirely new rep who does not have any background on the account. This results in them placing you on hold for 2- 3 minutes while they review their, obviously, antiquated database to come up to speed. There was one rep who had not known the background of my claim and had made assumptions about my inability to claim my Father's benefit as I was a non- spouse beneficiary despite the paperwork my Father had completed stating that I was.

My entire process of having to deal with the Principal Financial Group has been excruciating, frustrating and a complete drain of my patience. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM!

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(17 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

WORST I'VE SEEN. Lousey experience overall

By 

from Leesburg, VA

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

I find this company very hard to work with.  In addition to the no-name fund limitations, and the comments above about their fund choices being costly and largely unregulated, the user interface stinks.  Every time I try to deal with them it is a headache and disappointment.

After the housing bubble burst, my company had them in to speak to us about investing in tough times.  I specifically in writing asked if the fund managers of their "bond and mortgage fund" were let go after their abysmal performance.  No response.  The guys who were supposed to be mortgage industry experts, didn't think anything of buying securities based on foolish priciples like no money down and 105% funding.  They are not accountable to anyone, as far as I can tell.  Their reputation is poor, choices are poor, interface is poor, ethics are ????  What is to like about them?  Fidelity where 3 of my previous employers maintain accounts - smokes these guys every day of the week.

THIS COMPANY IS A GOOD TARGET FOR A CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION into why private citizens are individually punished by the decisions of their employers.  I will be contacting my Congressman about how citizens stuck with companies like this through the decisions of their employers should be allowed to roll out their moneys without leaving the company.  Please let me go elsewhere!  Why are we citizens stuck with bad financial options because our employers make bad service decisions?  This reminds me of the healthcare problem:  Your only choice may be lousy one, but it is connected to your boss.  What a bad idea.  Tying my personal investment choices to my continued employment quashes competition and drives 401K management company behavior based on the wrong motivations.  Principal appears more concerned with the companies with which they contract than with the persons who those companies represent.  We need to separate retirement accounts from corporate relationships and let the free market settle the winners and losers.  These clowns are clearly the losers, in my opinion.

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(14 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Principal is incompetent and unethical in business.

By 

from Grand Rapids, MI

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

Principal held my money in  US property account for over a year while I lost thousands of dollars. They had initially listed this account as stable and when I tried to discuss this with an advisor she said that she was mad too and there was nothing I could do. Every interaction with staff was troubling. They even told me that they had never heard of educational withdrawls from IRAs being penalty free. When I switched employers and was finally able to take out my money from the other accounts, I called for a rollover form to get out of there. Although it took them two weeks to send me the form (while I lost an additional $2k), I did receive an email that same day stating that they were now allowing distributions from the frozen property account.  The account had been frozen for almost a year and a half, and magically the same day I request to withdrawl my other funds I receive that email? They are engaging in unethical business practices and they know it. 

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(25 of 26 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Don't use them!

By 

from Jacksonville, AL

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

     This company doesn't honor their group LTD policies.  I breezed through Aflac claiming on my STD benefits.  I even breezed through the Social Security Administration and got approved for disability on my initial application.  The Senior Claims Rep., Justin Schaack, assigned to my LTD claim with this company was rude and discouraging when I applied for benefits under the policy I had with them.  And I STILL haven't collected any money on the group LTD policy I signed up for through my employer years ago!  My LTD policy through this company was supposed to start paying me 90 days from the onset of my total disability.  I'm now 14 months out of work and living on Social Security benefits and they STILL haven't approved my claim for LTD benefits through my employee benefits policy.  I've had to sign away 50% of the back benefits they already owe me to an ERISA attorney to handle my appeal!  They are corrupt and will act in bad faith when it comes to claims filed.  They're rude and unavailable.  In 14 months, their web site has never been updated to reflect that I ever had a claim in the first place.  Don't use them!  Their entire focus is on collecting your policy payments via payroll withholding.  They have no intention of ever paying if you have to file a claim.  They have already cost me THOUSANDS in much needed back pay because they will refuse to honor your claim without an attorney to represent you.  You have little recourse through the ERISA laws that govern their group policies and they know that.  The longer they jack you around the longer they get to hold onto your money and use it themselves.  Expect that if you have one of their disability policies, you'll have to starve for months and give away a huge chunk of the money you thought you'd be using to pay your bills with, before you ever see a dime.  And while you're laying flat on your back, unable to work, they will talk to you like you're just a good for nothing freeloader in their eyes.   

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(26 of 28 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Not very good

By 

from Lansing, MI

Comments about Principal Financial Group IRA:

They are front loaded.  Your employer pays them to manage your 401k.  They say there are no fees, but they do have "Managment Expenses" which are the same thing.  Those are on top of what your employer pays them.   And they do hold money and not let you transfer it.  At work a friend had a lot of money in their Real Estate fund.  It was going down.  He wanted to transfer it to Money Market.  They put him in a queue to wait to be able to transfer.  They said it could take up to 3 months.  There are a lot better.  Avoid Principal Financial Group if you can.

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