How Do I Find an IRA Custodian?

Most banks, brokerage firms and credit unions provide Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). But if you want to invest in alternative investments like real estate, private equity or precious metals – then an self-directed IRA custodian will be necessary.

Finding an appropriate custodian can save money by lowering fees that drain your retirement savings. Check ratings websites such as Trustpilot and Google Business Profile as well as reading reviews and complaints posted by customers on the Better Business Bureau site to help narrow your search.

Self-directed IRAs

Self-directed IRAs are retirement accounts that enable investors to invest in alternative assets such as real estate, gold bars and precious metals, cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. A custodian may help manage these less common investments more smoothly but ultimately it remains your responsibility to conduct due diligence and understand their tax implications.

When selecting a self-directed IRA custodian, look for one with low fees. Compare setup, transaction and asset-based fees when comparing service providers. It is also essential to assess their servicing times and customer service skills, making sure questions are promptly and thoroughly answered. Inquire if they specialize in alternative assets as this knowledge could save both time and money in future transactions.

Traditional IRAs

Investment brokerage firms, banks, and credit unions often only allow investors to invest in traditional assets like stocks, bonds and mutual funds through an IRA account. At Madison Trust however, self-directed IRA custodians allow investors to diversify their portfolio with investment options like real estate, private equity investments, startups and promissory notes through self-directed IRA accounts.

Self-directed IRAs not only offer more investment choices, but they also give investors greater freedom when using those investments. This gives investors greater control of their retirement funds and may result in greater returns over time. A good custodian for a self-directed IRA should know all regulations pertaining to these accounts, steer investors away from prohibited transactions, record all transactions quickly when issues arise and respond quickly if time-sensitive issues arise.

Rollover IRAs

Experts often advise IRA owners to consolidate all accounts into one custodian to simplify record keeping and reduce fees, especially for older accounts with unclear balances and fees. This can be especially helpful for those with older IRAs containing unclear balances and costs.

IRA custodians are subject to both federal and state regulation. They typically represent non-bank trust companies chartered by individual states that provide various investment options, including ETFs and mutual funds; some even hold alternative assets, like real estate or private placement securities.

Administrators and facilitators serve as intermediaries between IRA investors and the custodian who holds their assets, offering more investment options but may be unable to manage certain investments such as collectibles or alcohol beverages.

Mutual funds

If you want to invest in mutual funds, a custodian offering a range of investment options may be the ideal custodian for an IRA account. Brokerage firms and insurance companies tend to make good options; typically these firms facilitate sales of individual stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds and earn fees or commissions on each transaction they complete.

Self-directed IRA custodians are approved by the IRS to hold assets in retirement accounts of individuals who opt to direct them themselves. Although these trust companies cannot offer investment advice or make investment recommendations, they can assist owners with due diligence requirements and prohibited transactions.

An ideal IRA custodian should be up front about fees and customer service, while being aware of prohibited holdings such as collectibles and alcohol beverages that cannot be held in an IRA account.


Custodians of traditional and self-directed IRAs only provide basic services like holding investments in accounts; they do not vouch for the quality of private investments held within them. When purchasing alternative assets like real estate and precious metals, investors are responsible for conducting due diligence to ensure that they are buying legitimate investments while understanding any tax implications of these purchases.

To safeguard against fraud, it is crucial that you find a custodian that adheres to IRS rules and regulations. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to verify any information such as prices or asset values provided in your account statements through independent third-party verification; especially for alternative investments which may be difficult or illiquid investments to value.

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.

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