Why Does My IRA Have a Custodian?

Why does my IRA have a custodian

Custodial fees can quickly consume your retirement investment funds. Make sure your custodian provides fee transparency and an explanation for when and how they charge fees.

Custodians for individual retirement accounts (IRAs) can be difficult to work with if they lack industry expertise, which often results in complaints about them not being able to answer questions regarding alternative investments classes.

What is a Custodian?

Custodians are financial institutions trusted by the IRS to securely hold IRA assets and conduct any required paperwork and filings on its behalf. Custodians typically offer marketable investments for IRAs; due to the complexity of such investments they typically cannot accept them as custodial options.

Facilitators serve as intermediaries between an IRA owner and their custodian, helping navigate both rules and implementation for their services at an agreed upon fee.

Verifying information contained within your IRA statements, especially prices and values for alternative investments is of utmost importance. This could involve seeking an independent valuation, researching tax assessments or gathering related details from various sources. Some IRA custodians do not provide this type of data so be wary if someone claims they can; this may indicate they are not legitimate custodians.

Types of Custodians

Banks, trust companies, brokerage firms and independent custodians all fall under this umbrella of “custodians.” Custodians must keep meticulous records and report account information back to clients as well as adhering to regulations like anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. Custodial accounts rarely fall prey to fraudsters – for instance Bernie Madoff wasn’t technically a custodian himself – yet used his clients’ statements from custodial accounts to commit fraud against his clients’ statements in order to defraud them of funds belonging to them.

If you own stocks, bonds or other investments that pay dividends and interest payments, a custodian will help collect these payments and gather documentation necessary to file taxes. They may also offer other services like transaction settlement and reporting.

Custodial services provide valuable protection and investment management services for non-security assets like real estate, precious metals and private company stock as well as alternative investments such as oil & gas LPs or intellectual property. Custodial services are essential in protecting retirement savings while increasing growth.


Custodial fees can significantly erode long-term investment returns. Investors can find cost-effective solutions that meet their needs to minimize these fees.

Custodians often provide more services than just custody, such as record keeping and cash management, in addition to helping investors understand and comply with IRS rules regarding prohibited transactions. Some custodians charge fees based on assets under custody while others may charge flat fees or transaction-specific charges – the latter can even increase with alternative asset classes like real estate.

Selecting an ideal custodian for your retirement account can have a dramatic effect on your investments. Make sure you partner with a custodian that provides services relevant to you, such as self-directed IRA investing or high net-worth solutions as well as experience with alternative asset classes. It should also offer reliable customer service teams. Finally, find one who embraces technology advancement.

Choosing a Custodian

Many clients have voiced their displeasure with custodians who fail to perform adequately, leading to issues which range from simple yet manageable to those which could potentially cripple your retirement plans.

Different custodians differ based on investment options, fees and customer service; for instance if your IRA will invest in non-traditional assets like real estate or non-conventional securities it is crucial that it utilizes a custodian that has experience managing these types of investments.

Understanding the fees charged by a custodian, such as annual account maintenance fees, loads charged in mutual funds and trade commissions is also vitally important when choosing one. You will want to ensure your chosen custodian offers competitive pricing. Lastly, it’s also crucial that you inquire into what security measures the custodian utilizes to safeguard your information; with hacking of IRA accounts being such a danger nowadays it’s imperative you ask about security procedures as well as whether or not they protect their systems and back them up regularly if necessary.

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