Roth IRA conversion roadblocks at Fidelity

“We’re unable to process your transaction because you have another request in progress. To continue, wait until your request is complete.”




This is an error that some Fidelity customers may encounter when attempting to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The general consensus among Fidelity employees is that the funds in the traditional IRA account just need time to fully settle. Fidelity suggests waiting, though the amount of time recommended seems to vary depending on which Fidelity rep you speak to. Some have encouraged customers to wait as long as six days.


However, unsettled funds don’t appear to be the source of the error for some users who contributed to their IRA with fully-settled funds from their Fidelity account. Even some of the brokerage’s employees have been perplexed by the issue, especially when the customer’s account lists the funds as available for withdrawal.


When starting the conversion process online, a message may forewarn these same customers that there may be “trouble displaying the cash available to withdraw.” They’re also encouraged to attempt the conversion in one two four business.


The warning itself seems to suggest that this is not the expected behavior. Fidelity’s only suggestion – to wait it out – is a hint that they may not truly know what the underlying cause of the issue is.


What’s worse is that they believe that waiting will resolve the problem. For that reason alone, to help customers avoid being caught off guard by processing delays, Fidelity customers should know about the possible delays before they make their contributions to their IRAs.


Nonetheless, for those caught in this position, there’s a more reasonable solution than playing the waiting game. Simply ask Fidelity to complete the Roth IRA conversion for you. Explain that you’re encountering an error message when converting your traditional IRA to a Roth, and then ask them to complete the transfer for you.


The Fidelity rep may attempt to see if they can determine what the issue is. If they’re unable to pinpoint the issue, they will likely proceed with starting the conversion.


From this point, you can expect to spend just about three minutes on the phone with the rep. They will get your permission to start the conversion, which includes reading you a few disclosures similar to the disclosures that you saw when you attempted to do the conversion yourself. You’ll be given a confirmation number and you can view your Fidelity account right away to confirm that the transaction was successful.


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