Why Does My IRA Have a Custodian?

Why does my IRA have a custodian

Custodians must keep IRA accounts tax-advantaged by providing services like sending statements of investment performance and buying/selling investments while meeting regulatory requirements.

Custodians who do not understand alternative investments often make costly errors that cost IRA holders money.

IRA Custody

IRA custodians play an essential part in keeping your retirement account tax-deferred or tax-free, by carrying out investments according to its directions, evaluating transactions, verifying them for accuracy and documenting them properly, issuing statements and tax forms as needed, etc.

Custodians may include banks, trust companies or brokerage firms; for those seeking access to alternative assets like real estate or gold investments they’ll require a self-directed IRA custodian.

Select a reliable custodian that offers a broad array of investment options and has clear, unrestricted fees. Verifying information in your IRA account statements such as prices and asset values requires both independent valuation and researching tax assessment records to achieve accuracy.

Investment Management

Custodians must understand IRS rules regarding alternative investments, including any prohibited assets such as collectibles and certain precious metals. Furthermore, they should be able to differentiate between you as an investor and yourself as account holder in order to comply with all rules set by the IRS.

They must also provide full transparency regarding fees, such as administration and transaction costs, which could quickly diminish your retirement savings.

Investment management encompasses planning strategies and trading in financial portfolios. This process may be performed by individuals or institutions, and involves identifying your risk tolerance and investing goals before selecting an administrator or facilitator as the liaison between you and the partner custodian that holds your IRA assets – usually non-bank trust companies licensed by individual states with offerings such as FDIC-insured certificates of deposit and money market mutual funds as IRA options for account owners.


Ensure your chosen custodian offers transparent fees; this way you’ll know exactly what fees are being assessed for IRA administration and transaction. Read each fee schedule thoroughly before signing anything.

An ideal custodian will also have open channels of communication in place to address any inquiries or complaints from their tenants, as well as knowledgeable specialists available on staff to provide answers.

Traditional IRAs only accept marketable assets like stocks, bonds and mutual funds; self-directed IRAs offer more nontraditional investments such as precious metals, real estate, private notes and cryptocurrency. Custodians for self-directed IRAs only have limited duties to investigate quality or background of promoters of such investments.


Custody functions and investment management are an essential part of self-directed IRAs. New Direction Trust Company can serve as your ideal custodian, providing support for nontraditional investments like real estate or private companies that may not fit the mold.

Custodians that do not permit alternative assets aren’t working in your best interest. They make more from fees related to IRAs than they can afford to make from investments on which they do not earn fees, so these assets shouldn’t be permitted as custodial accounts.

Establishing a relationship with a custodian who will enable you to invest in non-traditional investments while providing education on how to invest is paramount for success. Lack of industry knowledge is often one of the chief complaints clients have against former custodians.


IRA custodians offer tax services such as quarterly statements and IRS compliance. As they’re responsible for handling all taxes related to your account – including distributions – it’s essential that they offer transparent fees.

Custodians should also have the capacity to manage alternative assets, including real estate, private notes and precious metals. Not all custodians allow IRA funds to invest in these types of investments – so be sure to find one who does.

Other key considerations when it comes to choosing a custodian are fees, customer service and technology. Some custodians may charge annual account maintenance fees, mutual fund loads or trade commissions – so make sure your investment offers global reach; more options is always better! This is something STRATA excels in doing compared to competitors.

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