List of Self-Directed IRA Companies

89 Replies

I am working on building a list of self-directed IRA companies. Here is what I have so far:

1. Entrust
2. Equity Trust
3. Pensco
4. Sterling
5. UDirect
6. Asset Exchange Strategies
7. American Pension Services
8. Guidant

I did a Google search and found some others that I hadn't heard of before too. Who have you used and what was your opinion of them?

For those that are partnering with these firms to do educational events who have you found to be open to this? I know that individual franchise owners at Entrust all have different opinions about whether or not they will co-sponsor events to win new accounts. What has your experience been with this?

I like ETC. I know Kaaren Hall of Udirect personally and she is extremely knowledgeable about her field, however, I have not used her services before.

I have worked with Entrust in California and it was a difficult process getting our deal funded using one of their client's IRAs. I have heard the same about ETC as well though, but I have never had problems doing deals with their client's money if I am handling the paperwork. I think their documents are extremely straight forward and easy to complete.

Quincy Long of Entrust in Texas is also extremely knowledgeable. I have heard him speak on many occasions and he really gets real estate investors and the types of deals we do.

I've used Guidant for a 401k Corporation, and was very displeased. I've gone into in other threads and won't rehash here, but suffice it to say that I've moved my money to ETC and have been very happy.

I've worked with other investors who use Sterling, and they seem pretty good as well, though I haven't used them myself.

Don't forget Sunwest Trust. They offer both self directed IRA accounts as well as solo 401k plans which you self administer.

I have yet to use them as I have been with ETC previously, but all my reserach and a few other BP members have convinced me that I need to switch to them. I plan on opening an account with them soon for a solok plan for my business.

I used to deal with one called Lincoln trust, it was out west somewhere. Let me know if you need contact info for them. I primarily use equity trust. they are in my back yard.

Bryan, great list that I will be monitoring.

Has anyone ever heard of or used Safeguard Financial?

I haven't ever heard of Safeguard Financial. Are you considering them?

I met Kaaren from UDirect this Sunday in Vegas and she is VERY knowledgeable. I would recommend UDirect to anyone interested in setting up a SDIRA.

Any other recommendations are certainly appreciated.

I'm considering everyone right now. There seems to be alot of these SDIRA companies popping up right now with the stock market hammering peoples IRA's. What is Karens last name? I will give her a call. Thanks again for the list.
My BAD!, I see Aaron already has her name up top

Another vote for Kaaren Hall. She is on top of her game. Also, Sarah Laeng with ETC has been a good contact as well.

On a similar but related note, has anyone dealt with companies that are not self-directed IRA custodians such as the ones mentioned, but are instead self-directed IRA advisors?

I talked to a company a few weeks ago that gives advice to folks with SDIRA's, which custodians are not allowed to do. Does anyone have a list of these types of companies as well?

Are the fee structures pretty similar among the SD IRA custodians?

The fee structures I have seen vary a lot Gene. Kaaren used to work for ETC and was laid off when the company was suffering. She has closed 500 accounts in 1.5 or so years in business so she is definitely a producer. I was quite impressed with her when we met.

We will be doing some webinars with ETC and UDirect in the next month or so. June 1 is scheduled to be our first webinar with ETC and we will likely do one with UDirect soon thereafter.

Thanks Bryan,

I actually looked over the fee structures of many of the sd ira custodians today. Its hard to compare them as they all label things differently.

IRA Trust Services has low reasonable fees and has been in business for a long time. They are merely a custodian so, they don't provide the LLC creation etc. But, I use them and have been pleased. And just FYI, I think at least one of the companies on your list actually uses them.

Currently use IRA Services for my IRA LLC. I switched from Trust Company of America a couple of years ago, with help from Guidant, when TCA significantly raised their fees.

I also use Sterling for some older investments. Just one thing left there now. They're OK if you don't need quick turnaround, though they have raised their fees over the last couple of years, too.

There's another company here in Denver that also provides SDIRA services and I can't remember the name. Its one of the big companies, and a former employer used them for health/dependent care accounts. They had pretty good fees when I started looking into this some years ago, but the rep I ended up talking to on the phone was very rude.

Thanks guys....I think that the smaller and more responsive companies start to raise their fees after they get bigger and take on more overhead. Kaaren mentioned she was hiring someone to help her out so hopefully that won't happen to her.


From you previous posts it sounds like you have been doing using uDirect for a while.

Would you recommend them? would you compare their fees?

I like the idea of ETCs easy to understand fee structure...but I have read too many bad reviews both on bigger pockets and other places online.


UDirect is who we send our fund investors to right now and they are who we recommend. Kaaren can give you a run-down of how the fees compare. There is a lot to it and UDirect is cheaper.

If you are setting up a SDIRA entity then another company may be the right choice. My personal opinion is that the checkbook control doesn't really add much value in many instances and adds a whole lot more headache.

Kaaren used to work for ETC and was laid off when the company was suffering.
Correction. Kaaren worked for Entrust, not ETC. I too know Kaaren personally as she is in my neck of the woods and I have heard her speak and she has heard me speak.

I use and like uDirect, Kaaren is fast, that really helps. I would also note that they give 1% on idle funds, which can add up sometimes.

Are you guys using uDirect for note investing or rental or ???

It sounds like uDirect charges $10.00 for outgoing transactions which could really add up fast. It seems to me that their fee structure would be better for the note investor but could be very expensive for holding renals.

Water bills, property taxes, payments to repair people...if each check is $10 it could add up to several hundred bucks really fast.

I am in CA so forming an LLC for checkbook control is not in the cards.

Originally posted by Will Barnard:
Correction. Kaaren worked for Entrust, not ETC. I too know Kaaren personally as she is in my neck of the woods and I have heard her speak and she has heard me speak.

Nice catch Will...Entrust, not ETC.

Originally posted by Gene Hacker:
Are you guys using uDirect for note investing or rental or ???

We use them for investors in our fund so the frequent use fees don't really matter a whole lot. The right choice depends on how you will use the account and what level of service you need.

Gene, you are correct, depending on the type of investing you od in your IRA or 401k, it is imperative you select the right provider so you get the most for your money.
Fees drag down returns in IRA accounts so that should always be a concern.

If anyone is still debating these I'll go ahead vouch for Kaaren. My father recently completed two transactions with Loc through her, and while there were some hang-ups, she and her staff ultimately got done what needed to be done. I would say that being very thorough in your communication is a good thing to remember with these companies, uDirect or otherwise.

We had a new investor for our fund RAVE about Kaaren via email and copy several people on the email. We should be doing a webinar with her in June so I will report on how that goes. Based on everything I have seen I anticipate it should go well.

Get the Ultimate Beginner's Guide

Sign up today to receive the popular eBook for free!