Choosing an IRA Administrator and Custodian

Who is an IRA trustee or custodian

Custodians are financial institutions that hold an IRA’s investments for safekeeping, meeting government reporting standards. When selecting an administrator and custodian for your Self-Directed IRA, be sure to evaluate fees, investment options and customer service as part of the selection criteria.

Be sure to review the IRS list of approved nonbank trustees and custodians for IRAs before selecting your chosen firm. Custodians only act as storage facilities – they cannot offer investment advice or guidance.

Trustee or Custodian

Custodians are organizations legally empowered to hold the assets/investments for individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Examples include banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, trust companies or any other IRS-approved entity. Custodians oversee safekeeping and record keeping for your investment assets with the exception of precious metals which must be depositoryed separately. They process transaction data for your transactions while performing tax reporting as well as creating statements for each IRA owner.

When selecting an IRA custodian/administrator, look for firms with experience processing investments of your choice such as real estate, private equity, cryptocurrency and debt-financed assets (notes/loans). Also investigate their fees such as annual account maintenance charges, trade commissions or load charges on mutual funds as well as any miscellaneous costs they might charge you – making sure they value customer service and are responsive to questions that arise.

Investment Options

Custodians can offer Individual Retirement Account (IRA) investors various investment opportunities. Brokerage firms and insurance companies both serve as potential custodians of Individual Retirement Accounts, offering stocks, ETFs, mutual funds or combinations of them as investments for Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Furthermore, premium annuity providers may act as custodians.

Robo-advisors provide another viable investment advice option. These online platforms utilize algorithm-based portfolio management to help investors meet their financial goals more easily; however, some charge high maintenance fees or trading commissions that could significantly diminish an IRA’s return rate.

Search for custodians that provide an extensive range of investments, from traditional to non-traditional assets like real estate and private companies to maximize potential returns. Inquire as to whether the custodian independently verifies information contained within IRA account statements regarding alternative investments that may be difficult to value or may become illiquid over time.


Custodian fees should be an important consideration when selecting an IRA custodian. Some firms charge annual account maintenance fees while others may assess transactional charges on transactions in your account. Furthermore, certain custodians charge extra fees for services like sending statements by mail or expediting processing requests.

Brokerage firms and insurance companies may act as custodians for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). By helping investors invest in exchange-traded stocks, bonds, and mutual funds they can earn commissions or fees; additionally they can serve as custodians of premium annuities that provide regular payments directly to beneficiaries.

Alternative investment custodians typically charge higher custodial fees to store non-marketable assets like real estate and private equity, such as real estate. When dealing with alternative investment custodians, however, it’s crucial that the information in your self-directed IRA account statements – such as prices and asset values – be checked against outside sources – such as obtaining valuation services from third parties or public records.

Customer Service

Self-Directed IRA custodians should offer educational materials for their clients to understand the services provided, including websites, podcasts and videos as well as apps that explain how they operate. A good custodian should ensure clients understand all service fees charged as well as any fraudulent investments (such as Unrelated Business Taxable Income or debt financed real estate).

Some IRA custodians offer additional financial options, such as checking accounts linked directly to retirement accounts. This enables account holders to invest directly into assets or investments they choose without going through a custodian first and making investing faster and more cost-efficient.

Be mindful when selecting your custodian that fees and commissions, including annual account maintenance fees, load fees charged in mutual funds and trade commissions are considered when selecting one. In addition, ensure they offer open channels so any questions or concerns can be quickly addressed; IRA Financial Group offers various IRA custodial options with knowledgeable specialists ready to assist.

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