How Do IRA Custodians Make Money?

Investors commonly associate custodianship with brokerage firms; however, not all custodians share a similar business model. Self-directed IRA custodians generate revenue by charging fees for managing investments within an IRA account.

Investors should exercise extreme caution when investing their IRA assets in alternative investments like real estate or cryptocurrency, which require additional due diligence checks to verify legitimacy.


Investors tend to overlook IRA custodian fees, yet key areas to keep an eye on include annual account maintenance fees, load fees for mutual funds and commission charges for making trades.

Additionally, in addition to standard fees, it’s also wise to be mindful of any additional IRA custodian fees applicable to your unique circumstances. For instance, if you store precious metals in an IRA custodian account, they will likely charge storage fees that should be considered when shopping around for the most cost-effective rate.

When investing in real estate, ensure the transaction fees are as low as possible. When selecting an IRA custodian, ensure they stay current with technology and understand which investments the IRS prohibits in self-directed IRAs – such as collectibles and alcohol beverages – in addition to having low fees with access to knowledgeable specialists when needed and an easy website interface.


Custodian commissions come in various forms, such as annual account maintenance fees, mutual fund load charges and trade commissions. Not all custodians charge similar fee types so shopping around will help you find the most cost-effective custodian solution.

Custodians for Individual Retirement Accounts must understand IRS regulations concerning prohibited assets such as collectibles and alcohol beverages, and be capable of detecting fraud while offering open channels of communication for investors.

Self-directed IRA custodians must also be capable of handling the paperwork and reporting associated with alternative investments like real estate, privately held companies or precious metals.

Custodians must also be capable of identifying disqualified parties such as the investor’s spouse and children and ensure all transactions comply with IRS regulations. Furthermore, they should identify and communicate any investment-related risks such as market fluctuations and potential legal issues to investors as well as having a robust cybersecurity system in place, since hackers often exploit valuable consumer data.


Self-directed custodians don’t generate commissions or management fees like brokerages do, so they must make up the difference by charging administrative fees for processing investments within retirement accounts manually. For instance, when an IRA owner purchases real estate through an IRA account, custodians must handle closing dates, wire transfers, deeds and title insurance; all labor intensive transactions that require multiple staff.

Custodians must also understand what investments are permitted within an IRA to avoid engaging in prohibited transactions that trigger taxable distributions and penalties, and be cognizant of any tax ramifications related to non-traditional investments like collectibles or alcohol beverages.

Many custodians work with facilitators to process non-traditional investments. Facilitators are generally individuals or small companies that charge a fee to list an IRA-owned property on the market before passing it off to a custodian, opening themselves up to fraudsters who attempt to exploit IRA holders in this way.


Custodians charge fees for various services related to managing an IRA, such as annual account maintenance fees, load charges in mutual funds and trade commissions. When choosing a custodian you should carefully consider these fees before making your selection decision.

Selecting the ideal custodian also depends on the types of investments you are exploring. If investing in alternative assets, search for a custodian who understands which kinds of holdings the IRS prohibits (i.e. collectibles and alcohol beverages).

Your ideal custodian will provide a comprehensive website and easy access to account details, so make sure that before investing any money they meet all of your expectations.

Most IRA custodians offer various fees related to Fed Funds wires, notary services, document storage and transaction processing that fall outside their custody fees; some fees may even be itemized separately on their website – the best IRA custodians will list these clearly.

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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