How Do I Choose an IRA Custodian?

How do I choose an IRA custodian

Investors should verify a custodian’s credentials by verifying their licensing and registration with regulatory authorities, as well as fees charged by each custodian.

These include Fed Funds wires, notary fees and document storage charges; each can add up over time and hinder investment performance.

Self-directed IRAs

Self-directed IRAs have grown increasingly popular due to the flexibility they provide. When selecting a custodian for your self-directed IRA, make sure it has an excellent track record in the industry and provides real custodial services rather than acting only as an administrator or facilitator – these latter entities do not hold your assets directly but instead assist with documentation for making IRS-approved alternative asset investments.

Self-directed IRA custodians allow investors to invest in alternative assets like precious metals, real estate and cryptocurrency that may not be accessible via traditional IRA accounts. These trust companies are approved by the IRS to store such investments safely for you.

Search for an IRA custodian that provides a range of investment options at reasonable fees, in addition to excellent customer service and an intuitive website.

Traditional IRAs

Traditional IRA custodians tend to include banks, brokerage firms and mutual fund companies who limit the assets in IRAs to less risky investments. Some charge transaction-based fees while others assess asset-based fees; it’s essential that you know exactly which kind of fees apply before making your choice.

Some IRA custodians specialize in traditional assets while others specialize in alternative investments like real estate. When selecting your custodian, try to select one who specializes in your chosen asset class as they will be better equipped to manage that type of investment.

Some IRA custodians will accept Zillow reports or professionally prepared comparable market analyses as evidence of property value, while others require more formal appraisal. It will be important to take note of both a custodian’s business size and expertise of staff when making this decision.

Roth IRAs

Custodians are financial institutions that hold investments for an IRA account, such as banks, brokerage firms or insurance companies. Each custodian charges different fees based on transaction amounts such as maintenance fees, load charges (charged in mutual funds) and trade commissions.

Custodians for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) typically specialize in traditional investments like stocks, bonds and mutual funds; others (known as self-directed) provide custody for more unconventional assets like real estate investments, private mortgages, tax liens, livestock and physical gold and silver investments.

When investing in properties requiring active management, such as rehabbing or fix-and-flipping, Self-Directed IRA custodians with checkbook control could be ideal. Since such investments require many transactions such as contractor payments, bank deposits, maintenance actions and more to manage effectively, checkbook control could prove particularly advantageous.


Fees associated with an IRA custodian should also be taken into consideration when choosing an IRA provider, including annual account maintenance fees, load charges (charged by mutual funds) and trade commissions. Transaction volumes as well as type of assets purchased should all be factored in when evaluating this aspect of their service structure.

Those interested in investing in alternative IRA assets, like real estate or cryptocurrency, should find a self-directed custodian who supports these types of investments. Most trust companies that approve of self-directed IRA accounts also allow these types of alternative and often riskier investments to be kept therein.

As part of your assessment of a custodian, look for one whose team members possess expert knowledge of self-directed investing and can quickly answer your queries about self-directed accounts. This is crucial as clients often state a lack of industry knowledge as one of their major grievances regarding former custodians.


Experts advise Self-Directed IRA account holders to consolidate their accounts with a custodian that offers maximum investment options, and has knowledge of IRS consolidation rules and what types of IRAs may be combined.

Look for a custodian that offers a range of alternative investments such as real estate and privately held companies; such investments often yield higher returns than traditional stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

As another factor, consider whether or not the custodian manages a significant volume of assets and has extensive experience providing IRA custodial services. As its business expands, so will their ability to serve their customers more efficiently – including faster processing times and reduced delays when dealing with time-sensitive transactions.

Raymond Banks Administrator
Raymond Banks is a published author in the commodity world. He has written extensively about gold and silver investments, and his work has been featured in some of the most respected financial journals in the industry. Raymond\\\'s expertise in the commodities market is highly sought-after, and he regularly delivers presentations on behalf of various investment firms. He is also a regular guest on financial news programmes, where he offers his expert insights into the latest commodity trends.

Categorised in: