How Do I Choose an IRA Custodian?

How do I choose an IRA custodian

An IRA custodian holds assets within an IRA account and ensures compliance with IRS rules, while providing investment advice. Unfortunately, fraudsters sometimes pose as custodians to gain entry to assets held within an IRA account and offer investment advice.

Investors should select a custodian with access to non-traditional investments like real estate and private companies as well as low fees and commissions.


IRA custodians are financial institutions that hold and manage alternative investments like real estate and private equity for retirement accounts. They must comply with state and federal government auditing standards as well as IRS guidelines; additionally they have an obligation to report all contributions and withdrawals.

When selecting an IRA custodian, look for one who offers multiple investment options at reasonable fees – this may include account maintenance fees, load charges on mutual funds and trading commissions. Furthermore, check their Better Business Bureau score as part of your decision process.

When considering real estate purchases as part of your retirement strategy, selecting an efficient custodian is paramount. For instance, rehabbing or flipping requires checkbook control so as to avoid additional fees associated with each contractor payment and deposit. Furthermore, inquire as to their servicing times and communication style before selecting one.

Investment options

An ideal Self-Directed IRA custodian should offer a diverse selection of alternative investments to diversify your retirement account, including real estate, private mortgages, tax liens, physical gold and silver investments as well as privately held company stock. A knowledgeable custodian should have access to this investment portfolio as well as processing all necessary documentation.

Be sure to review a custodian’s fee schedule, which should be readily available online. Some custodians charge annual maintenance fees, commissions on trades and loads for mutual funds – fees which could significantly eat into investment returns; make sure you choose one with low fees!

An effective IRA custodian should also offer knowledgeable specialists who can quickly answer your queries either online or over the phone, which is especially valuable when searching for time-sensitive transactions. In addition, their website should contain information regarding their background and security protocols for maximum transparency.

Availability of knowledgeable specialists

Custodians that can quickly answer investor queries and offer assistance when necessary can be invaluable. Open communication channels (either online or by telephone) must also be made available, and reasonable fees and commissions, such as annual account maintenance fees, mutual fund loads or trade commissions charged should also be included in this equation.

A quality IRA custodian should offer an array of investment options, from real estate and precious metals to private lending and tax liens. While some custodians specialize in traditional investments like stocks, bonds and mutual funds; others may specialize in alternative assets like real estate and private mortgages.

Selecting an IRS compliant self-directed IRA custodian is of utmost importance for investing in alternative assets, and helping clients avoid penalties from the IRS for violations in regulations. They will work alongside clients, real estate agents, and attorneys to make sure all paperwork is complete and in order.


Select a custodian with advanced technology. Their secure systems must protect personal and financial information while their website should be user-friendly and customer support options such as online chat or telephone should also be readily available.

An effective custodian should provide adequate security measures to guard against fraud, such as having the capability of reporting suspicious activities and making sure their employees do not gain access to private financial data. In addition, they should have systems in place to track IRA investments for any potential violations or breaches in law.

Know what kind of investment you wish to make: traditional IRA custodians typically only allow marketable securities; while Self-Directed IRA custodians like Madison Trust offer alternative investments such as real estate, startup companies, promissory notes or privately held assets.

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