IRA Custodians: Top 10 IRA Companies of 2024

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Disclosure: Our content does not constitute financial advice. Speak to your financial advisor. We may earn money from companies reviewed.  Learn more

Once you've decided to invest within a self-directed individual retirement account (IRA), whether you want a gold IRA or any other type of specialized IRA, your next step is to find a reputable company to help you set up and stock your self-directed IRA with alternative assets, such as gold.

This is a critical step toward achieving financial security in your retirement. You'd be ill-advised to blindly trust any gold IRA company on the internet. Rather, you have to take things a step further by doing your homework on the most reliable gold IRA companies. A great place to start is with our list of IRA custodian reviews. Otherwise, you might be on the hook for sky-high annual fees, or you might get caught with gold bullion, collectibles, or even valuable gold quarters that aren't actually eligible for inclusion in a tax-advantaged retirement account.

Other than the cost of the bullion itself, most of the cost associated with investing in a precious metals IRA comes from the IRA custodian entrusted with storing your IRA's gold in an approved depository.

IRA Custodian Reviews: Fees, Surcharges and Taxes

Each custodian charges its own setup, storage, and admin fees. Some custodians charge a flat-rate annual fee (which stays the same regardless of the account value) while others charge sliding scale fees (which rise as the value of the account increases). Most also tack on an IRA custodian to custodian transfer fee. Below, we've provided a comprehensive self-directed IRA custodian fee comparison between the various custodians in the space.

Typically, fees for custodian to custodian transfers range between $50 and $100 per transfer. They operate somewhat like commissions or transaction fees for payment processors. For more on avoiding high IRA custodian fees, here's an excellent resource by ZACKS Investment Research. All told, simply reading the fine print in your brokerage agreement is the hands-down best thing you can do to minimize the risk of overpaying on IRA custodian transfer fees.

There are many options available to you as a retirement investor, but not all of them are profitable or safe. You have a requirement unto yourself as an investor to ensure that you're dealing with the most reputable and cost-effective custodians and bullion dealers when allocating an expert-recommended 5% – 20% of your retirement portfolio towards precious metals holdings.

The table below can help you conduct your own research regarding the fees, policies, and reputations of the top precious metals IRA custodians of 2024:

(Note: Some of the most popular custodians that currently specialize in Gold IRAs and precious metals IRAs in specific, are actually third-party administrators (TPAs). Four of the custodians on the list below (Vantage, New Direction, GoldStar, and Midland) are TPAs that have partnered with one of the largest self-directed IRA custodians, First Trust Company of Onaga, which has not been included on this list because there's no mention of precious metals or gold IRAs anywhere on their official site.) 

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Our RankingCustodian
Partnered DepositoryYearly Storage & Admin FeesFull Review
Broad Financial
(800) 395-5200
No Rating
Madison Trust Company
$400 per year + one-time $1,395 registration and LLC filing fee
(flat-rate) Includes Transaction Fees
» Read Review
Equity Trust
(855) 233-4382
Delaware Depository
Starting at $225
» Read Review
New Direction IRA
(877) 742-1270
Choice *
$150 flat rate for precious metals IRA
» Read Review
GoldStar Trust Company
(800) 486-6888
No Rating
Delaware Depository
.08% of account value up to $250
» Read Review
The Entrust Group
(800) 392-9653
No Rating
Choice *
$199 to $299
» Read Review
Midland IRA
(239) 333-1032
No Rating
Choice *
» Read Review
Millennium Trust Company
(800) 258-7878
No Rating
Delaware Depository
$100 (Maintenance) + $100-650 (Custody)
» Read Review
Kingdom Trust Company
(270) 226-1000
No Rating
Delaware Depository
$160-$320 (Storage)
» Read Review
Provident Trust Group
(888) 662-0869
No Rating
Delaware Depository
$50 (One-Time Setup) + $395 (Custody)
» Read Review
Vantage IRA
(480) 306-8404
No Rating
Delaware Depository
$395 per asset
» Read Review
Pacific Premier Trust
(855) 453-4960
No Rating
Starting at .30% of account value (minimum $750)
» Read Review
Strata Trust Company
(866) 928-9394
No Rating
Brinks Global or Delaware Depository
$50 (One-Time Setup) + $95-300 (Annual)
» Read Review

* Client has to choose their own depository.

4 Things to Look For When Choosing an IRA Custodian

The above chart is meant to give you an easy way to conduct your own research. To further speed up the process of finding a fair and reputable custodian we recommend following the four tips below:

1. Examine Setup Charges and Annual Fees

The first aspect you should consider when choosing an IRA custodian for private investments in gold is whether they charge a flat-rate or sliding scale fee. You'll also want to know whether they charge setup and admin fees, all of which can increase the cost of opening and owning a precious metals IRA. We've highlighted the annual fee schedules and policies of each of the top 10 custodians within the reviews presented in the chart above. Before moving forward, it's also necessary that you verify whether your alternative investments constitute IRA-approved metals—unfortunately, there are many investment-grade metals that don't qualify for tax-advantaged accounts.

2. Compare Overall Reputation and Industry Presence

You'll notice in our top gold IRA companies comparison we highlight ratings with the Better Business Bureau, Business Consumer Alliance, Trustlink, and other directories that we do not mention in the custodian reviews when discussing reputation. There is a very good reason for this – IRA custodians typically do not deal directly with “consumers,” so they do not have listings or ratings on most consumer complaint and review directories like Yelp, BBB, and Yellow Pages. Instead, they partner with brokers, dealers, and gold IRA firms.

The best way to test a custodian's reputation is to determine how long they've been in business, how many accounts and clients they have, which Gold IRA companies they're partnered with, and other more traditional ways of verifying the credibility of a business.

3. Consider Presentation, Support, and Site Design

When discovering how to choose an IRA custodian, it's crucial that you thoroughly inspect their website and brand design. A good IRA custodian's website should be easy to navigate, professionally designed, and it should contain clear information regarding the company's fee structure, offerings, and the management staff. A great example of this is the website of Broad Financial, 2024's #1 IRA custodian. Their site is aesthetically pleasing and provides easy access to information about the company's history, management, and fee policies.

4. Find the Most Cost-Effective Route

Finally, custodians usually partner with bullion dealers, brokers, financial planners/advisors, and investment firms to give their clients a way to directly invest in precious metals within an IRA. As such, some brokers and gold IRA companies will offer to waive custodian fees if you setup an account through them.

Thus, your wisest move as an investor may be to set up an account with a custodian through one of their partnered gold IRA companies, in order to avoid unnecessary hassle and fees when opening and stocking your self-directed precious metals IRA.

IRA Custodian FAQs

Quite simply, an IRA custodian is a financial services company that stores, vaults, or safeguards your retirement account's investments. IRA custodians exist to ensure all of the IRS's many rules and regulations regarding tax-advantaged accounts are respected and adhered to. These companies allow their account holders to form self-directed IRAs, consisting of selected assets of the account holder's choosing, under their care. In a world without licensed IRA custodians, the IRS would be constantly breathing down your neck to ensure compliance.

All IRA custodians must be approved and licensed by the IRS. They are regulated as "non-bank custodians" and can take the form of credit unions, trust companies, or any other licensed private entity. IRA custodians maintain a fiduciary responsibility to the account holder to hold and secure their assets and to not manipulate or transact the assets without their explicit permission.

Annual fees for self-directed IRA custodian accounts typically range between $200 and $500, including transaction fees (e.g., check writing) and custodian-to-custodian transfer fees. However, asset value fees are usually quite rare for IRA custodian accounts.

An IRA with "checkbook control" is the most popular type of self-directed IRA. With checkbook  control, account holders have full signing authority over their account and can access, buy, and sell any assets within the account whenever they choose. Generally, these account types present more risk than custodian-controlled accounts, and they usually charge higher fees (often with setup fees ranging from $1,000 to $2,000). You need an LLC established in your name to setup an IRA with full checkbook control.

IRA custodians are subject to strict regulations set forth in the Internal Revenue Code, holding them to high standards of care and fiduciary responsibility. Custodians must comply with the capital requirements and security protocols under the law at the federal and state levels and must be subject to state auditors.

Yes, all of the most reputable IRA custodians provide personal IDs and login credentials so you can check the status of your transactions and transfers, as well as initiate account changes. The extent to which you can manage your account online varies from company to company.

Why We've Awarded Broad Financial the #1 Spot in 2024

Broad Financial has decades of experience in the self-directed IRA industry, and offers the greatest variety of asset offerings within their Ultimate Checkbook Control IRA, which is contained within a registered LLC in the account holder's name. Aside from their longstanding reputation as an industry-leading IRA custodian, they also offer flat-rate fees for setting up and maintaining a precious metals IRAs.

To learn more about why we've given Broad Financial takes the top spot on this year's list, see our full Broad Financial review.


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FTC Disclosure: We are an independent blog that aims at providing useful information for retirement account owners interested in alternative assets like precious metals. However, our content does NOT constitute financial advice. Please speak to your financial advisor before making any investment decision. Also, the data quoted on this website represents past performance and does not guarantee future results.


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