Best Self Directed IRA trust companies?

61 Replies

I am looking to do a self directed IRA, i was thinking of using
the "Equity trust Company"

Their fees seem reasonable, the service seems capable, and they
are out of Ohio which is not a hotbed of fraud unlike Florida and Nevada.

Pluses: They were recommended to me. They are a family owned private business. They have been in business for a while

Negatives: They are small $64MM assets, their CPA is a one horse shop.

As I am trusting my IRA to them, I wanted opinions. My IRA was at Merrill, and they exploded, so the big guys aren't safe.
Madoff was a family enterprise also.

So what do you all think?


NO NO NO NO....dont do it. I signed up with them....abou a year and a half ago...and I guesss they were experiencing super growth at the they were completley unreachable. I was in contract on a deal and then out of the blue couldnt get ahold on ANYONE for 8 days...and so the deal fell through.

I moved all my money to Entrust (how similar these names are) and have been quite happy with their responsiveness.

Jeez....just hearing their name in your post makes me angry.

Maybe theyve cleaned up shop in the last year and a half......but they ruined a deal for me. Thats all i know.

I use (and know several other investors who use) Equity Trust and have always been happy with them...

For reference, I've done some research and it doesn't appear that any self-directed IRA company has ever gone out of business and caused losses to depositors, so you should be fairly comfortable that the industry as a whole is pretty reputable.

I have been the biggest critic of Equity Trust, but I think I have figured it out.

You need to find a competent representative, then simply communicate with them via e-mail. (Equity Trust does not have phone extensions, so don't go there).

I recently completed a note transaction with another BP member here, and they were with uDirect. We were both underwhelmed with the amount of trouble we had to go through.

Well, the guy i speak with has a direct dial number now. Now maybe they put their efforts into
"Sales" and "Capture" and once they have you start ignoring you like crazy, but, perhaps as you
say the email may work better.

Kaaren at UDirect has received glowing praise from people that have invested in our fund. I would recommend UDirect over all of the others based on what I have seen thus far.

A real world experience, over just the past few days, with IRA Services in San Carlos, CA, where I have an SDIRA account…

This past Friday we looked at an REO with a borrower and agreed to loan on it. Loan docs were completed that evening and emailed to IRA Services over the weekend.

Monday: 10:30am received an email from them that they received our papers and are processing them. Later in the day I called their processor to ask some questions. She picked up after maybe two rings and was completely knowledgeable and helpful.

Tuesday: Received phone call that papers were approved and loan would be funded next day.

Wednesday (Today 6/15): Money was wired to escrow on time and as promised by them.

I’ve done several deals thru IRA Services and couldn’t be any happier. They are fast, knowledgeable, responsive, and relatively cheap. At the time I opened my account, several years ago, they were by far the least expensive IRA custodian around. I can’t recommend them any more highly.


You may want to check out the advantages of the SOLO is much better than the IRA if you have a traditional IRA (Vs a ROTH)call me and I'll get you some comaprisons: IRA Vs. IRA. See for yourself. I switched

--Mitch Stephen--

This may sound very odd, but, I had the folks at Equity trust company send me their
Investor "Safety and security " package.

So it had a few oddball nits,

1) They are a south dakota company doing business in Ohio. Why shouldn't they be an ohio company or a deleware company?

2) They say they keep your account in a client account at first citizens national bank of ohio, i called them and didn't know anything about these guys

3) their CPA is some small shop.

what do all you smart guys think?

I am looking into companies that handle self directed IRA's and found a company in TX named Self Directed IRA Services INC. does anyone have experience with this company

I use Pensco Trust and my husband uses Equity Trust. Equity Trust answers their phone more than Pensco Trust.

At ET, you can opt to pay more to get better service ($200?). I have made a flow chart for Pensco Trust to help me get to the right person. Working with either company takes patience.

Entrust is a franchise and a national company I believe so you will need to get to know your local rep if you have a franchise in the area.

My accountant didn't like Guidant's checkbook practices. Good luck. mck

For the self directed IRA, i would recommend Kaaren Hall at Udirect. Just completed a loan with an investor on Bp who had their funds at Udirect and the wire went out exactly as promised and very little effort needed to process the transaction. They are certainly on the ball and easy to get a hold of.

I also second the advide to go with the solo 401k plan over an IRA (if you are self employed without employess other than spouse). Better options and more advantages with the 401k over the IRA.

I have used Equity Trust for years and still do biz with them, however, I have also run into processing problems with them and you can easily speak to the wrong rep who can give you inaccurate info. As far as safety for your deposits, you are safe with any of the companies mentioned in this thread.

I've used Equity Trust for a few years. I did some transactions with them in the first half of this year that were slow and tedious. However, my last couple of transactions have gone flawlessly. I seem to have a single rep now rather than a team. This helps. I'm back to recommending them.

I've used ETC (Equity Trust Company) for a decade. They had some seriously constipated work flow problems during a year or two period. It was very frustrating. I think the fee for fast/3day? processing is $50 per transaction (extra). They seem to have their work processes back in order as I haven't had a problem for most of this year. I have no experience with other vendors.

I used to be with Entrust Houston. Quincy Long is very knowledgeable and the service staffs were very responsible. Low fee. I love their events and activities too. I was out of the self directed IRA 5 years ago after moved out from Houston area and now I want to find a company in New York city and restart it again. Is any good Self Directed IRA service near NYC?
I do not like do this through email and phone. I like to be with a person as service staff.

This thread seem to never die out, so figured I could post a year later...I have been trying to find a legit trust/custodian co. to invest IRA funds in RE partnership. I dont want my 25k going thru a company with an F rating from BBB- namely Equity Trust Company. From this thread wondering if they just grew too fast and had bad customer service years ago...but someone on here is mentioning they dont use a major accounting firm. Wish they had some form of govt. guarantee like SIPC or any of them?

Is it possible to wire the money directly from Vanguard to the real estate company without these trust companies getting their hands on it? Would that satisfy IRS requirements, as long as one of these companies is on record as custodian? Or do they always need to have the cash flow thru them? I guess I could call...but dont want ongoing sales pitch if I dont like answer. Thanks.

@Phil Berens  

SIPC is commonly associated to the banking and brokerage industry; specifically where securities are sold. Most SDIRA providers don't sell securities and many aren't broker-dealers either. Infact, you should NEVER receive a sales pitch for an investment from an SDIRA provider that administrates alternative assets. We offer FDIC insurance on all uninvested cash and it's not uncommon for others to offer it as well. What you have to realize is that most SDIRA providers are not banks themselves.

You won't be able to take a distribution from your Vanguard IRA and put it directly into a real estate deal. Doing so would actually be a taxable event (distribution). Keep the funds invested in the name of your IRA to maintain the tax advantages. The SDIRA industry is improving dramatically as systems are upgraded and technology improves.

Keep doing your research and good luck!