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Retirement AccountsQ: How is an individual retirement account (IRA) transferred? A: An individual retirement account (IRA) can be transferred over to a new institution by completing the required documentation at that institution. The new institution would then send notification to the prior holder, requesting a transfer of funds. This type of transaction is called a transfer, in which the customer does not take possession of the funds. A Rollover involves a customer closing out the IRA at the current institution, receiving the funds, and opening a new IRA at the next institution.