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The Complete Guide To Self Directed Gold IRA Custodians

On the following page we’ll cover everything you need to know about precious metals IRA custodians. Once done you’ll know how to select a reputable gold IRA custodian and also what to avoid.



In this Guide You Will Discover:

  • How To Choose a Precious Metals IRA Custodian
  • About Gold IRA Custodian Fees
  • How to Get Help With Your Paperwork
  • Gold IRA Custodian Fee Schedules 
The most important task in selecting a custodian and purchasing metals inside your IRA is understanding the many tricks dealers use to sell overpriced coins. Always start by calling our Gold IRA Custodian Experts for a free consultation at 800-300-0715.

With the recent increase in demand for precious metals, many people are searching for the best gold IRA custodians. Below is a comprehensive list of everything you need to know before choosing your gold IRA custodian. Let’s dive in.

What is a Gold IRA Custodian?

A gold IRA custodian offers Self-Directed IRAs that permit its clients to hold alternative assets, including physical precious metals in the custody of an IRS-approved nonbank trustee. In addition to physical gold, Self-Directed IRA custodians also permit silver, platinum and palladium coins and or bars that meet minimum purity requirements.

History of Gold IRA Custodians

Individual Retirement Arrangements were introduced in 1974, with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). IRA’s were designed to serve two primary functions:

To create a tax-deferred retirement account for individuals not covered by their companies’ retirement plans.

Offer a vehicle for individuals to preserve the deferred tax status of qualified plans upon the termination of employment.

Initially, IRA’s were solely offered through big banks and financial institutions, and were instantly popular. In the first year alone (1975), IRA contributions topped $1.4 billion. By 1981, contributions had ballooned to $4.8 billion.

And Wall Street was more than content with the massive influx of new capital. They now had a consistent, predictable, flow of new money to allocate to stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

But what most investors didn’t know was that their investment options were being severely limited by the same banks that held their IRA’s. Few investors at the time were aware that per the IRS the only two investments one can’t hold in an IRA are life insurance and

Early in the 1990s, savvy investors began to realize their IRAs were much more nimble than previously thought. Trust companies began to emerge, specifically set up to allow alternative investments in IRAs. Investors were no longer tied to the big banks and their limited investment options. With the advent of the new trust companies, the Self-Directed IRA was born.

A Self-Directed IRA is just that, self directed. You and you alone are responsible for choosing your investments.

But it wasn’t until 1997 with the passing of the Tax Payer Relief Act that select precious metals were approved for inclusion into retirement accounts. And at that moment, gold IRA custodians were born.

And the timing couldn’t have been better, as gold increased from $300 to $1900 from 2000 to 2010, creating a windfall for IRA investors holding precious metals.

How Do Gold IRA Custodians Work?

Most gold IRA custodians are non-bank trust companies for the reasons mentioned above. A gold IRA custodian must therefore maintain what’s called an omnibus account with a traditional bank, allowing it to execute financial transactions. This relationship also provides that each gold IRA custodian client receives FDIC insurance protection of up to $250,000 of cash held in their IRA. Below are the typical roles and responsibilities of a gold IRA custodian:

  • Assist in establishing and funding your gold IRA
  • Execute your buy, sell, distribution, transfer and rollover instructions as directed
  • Ensuring assets are correctly titled and inventoried
  • Issue quarterly statements
  • Inform you of Required Minimum Distribution obligations
  • Fulfill IRS reporting requirements

What Gold IRA Custodians Don’t Do

Gold IRA custodians do not offer investment, nor tax advice. Gold IRA custodians do not provide insurance against financial loss for your investments (other than FDIC insurance of cash up to $250,000). A gold IRA custodian will not investigate or validate the legitimacy of your investment choices. And they are not responsible for an investment’s performance.

How are Gold IRA Custodians Governed?

In order to become a gold IRA custodian one must apply to the IRS using Revenue Procedure 2021-4. Next, they must prove they can meet the requirements of Treasury Regulation Sections 1.408-2(e)(2) through 1.408-2(e)(8). A prospective custodian must submit a written application to the IRS demonstrating its abilities to comply with the following items:

  • Provide the state and date of incorporation to prove how long in business
  • Prove continuity assuring the uninterrupted performance of fiduciaries
  • Provide established physical location of business
  • Demonstrate fiduciary experience or expertise with retirement plans
  • Must show a high degree of solvency, financial responsibility
  • Demonstrate proficiency in accounting for a large number of individuals
  • Must prove competence associated with handling of retirement funds
  • Must provide document for rules of conduct used in administering retirement plans
  • All employees performing fiduciary duties must be bonded for at least $250,000
  • Applicants net worth at least $250,000 based on recent audited financial statements

What Types of Accounts do Gold IRA Custodians Offer?

Gold IRA custodians typically offer Self-Directed Traditional, Roth, SEP and Simple IRA plans.

Traditional IRAs are by far the most common and can be used by anyone who earns income. Account owners are able to contribute up to $6,500 pre-tax dollars annually, or if over 50 years of age, $7,000. Earnings can grow tax-deferred until the owner reaches 72 at which point they’ll be obligated to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs).

Roth IRAs are very advantageous for eligible individuals because they allow post-tax contributions of up to $6,500 annually or $7,000 if over 50 years of age. Eligibility to contribute to a Roth depends on one having earned income and that their gross adjusted income doesn’t exceed limits set by the IRS. Tax-free distributions can be taken at any time after 59.5. Taking a distribution prior to 59.5 years of age will result in a 10% early withdrawal penalty. You are not obligated to take RMDs with a Roth IRA.

SEP IRAs are Simplified Employee Pension plans that allow self-employed individuals, partners, or owners of companies, to provide a simple, low-cost retirement plan for employees. Employers can make tax-deductible contributions of up to 25% of an employee’s pay or up to $66,000 in 2023. Just like with a Traditional IRA, SEP IRA holders must begin to take RMDs at 72 years of age.

SIMPLE IRAs are for small businesses with less than 100 employees and self-employed individuals. Employees under 50 years of age can contribute $15,500 per year. If 50 or over, and your plan permits, you may contribute up to an additional $3,500 as a catch-up contribution. Employers can match up to 3% of the employee’s pay. Again, account owners must take RMDs upon reaching 72 years of age. Visit our Gold IRA Eligible page for more information and to confirm if you can turn your current account into a gold IRA.

What Fees Do Gold IRA Custodians Charge?

Gold IRA custodians will have one of two fee structures:

  • An annual fixed rate regardless of the account value
  • A sliding scale fee based on the value of your account

Precious Metals IRA custodians with fixed fee schedules are the most cost effective. So unless you have a very good reason to choose a firm with a sliding scale, you should avoid such custodians.

In the table below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of the Self Directed gold IRA custodians, and their costs for precious metals accounts.

CustodianFlat Fee
Annual Storage
Set-Up FeeAnnual FeeMinimum
Fee Schedule
AccuPlanYes$144$50$195$325Fee Schedule
Advanta IRANo

.001 x Value Per Year

$125 Minimum

$50$100NoFee Schedule
CNB CustodyNo

$1 per $1,000

$100 Minimum

$50NoNoFee Schedule
Entrust GroupNo

.80 – $3.50 per $1,000

$95 Minimum

$50$199NoFee Schedule
Equity TrustYes$100$50$125NoFee Schedule
Forge TrustNo$1 per $1,000 $190 Minimum$50$400NoFee Schedule
GoldStar TrustNo

$1 per $1,000

$100 Minimum

$50$180 NoFee Schedule
Horizon TrustYes$100$250$395NoFee Schedule
iPlan GroupNo$1 per $1,000$50$225 – $1,000NoFee Schedule
IRA Financial Trust CompanyNo

.80 per $1,000

$95 Minimum

$0$400$500Fee Schedule
IRA InnovationsNo

.80 per $1,000

$95 Minimum

$50$100$500Fee Schedule
Madison TrustNo

$1 per $1,000

$100 Minimum

$50$400$500Fee Schedule
Midland TrustNoVaries*$50$325$250Fee Schedule
Inspira FinancialNo

.70 – .80 per $1,000

$60 Minimum

$50$100NoFee Schedule
Mountain West IRANo

$1 per $1,000

$125 Minimum

$50$130 – $300$500Fee Schedule
New DirectionTrust CompanyNo

.80 per $1,000.

$95 Minimum

$30$150NoFee Schedule
Next Generation Trust CompanyNo

.80 per $1,000

$95 Minimum

$50$100NoFee Schedule
Preferred Trust CompanyNoVaries*$50$100$500Fee Schedule
Provident TrustNoVaries*$50$395NoFee Schedule
Strata TrustYes$100 – $150$50$95NoFee Schedule
uDirect IRA ServicesNo$10 – $18 per month$50$275$325Fee Schedule
Vantage IRANo

$1 per $1,000

$125 Minimum

$50$275NoFee Schedule



Where Do Gold IRA Custodians Store My Precious Metals?

Per the Internal Revenue Code Section 408, the precious metals owned by your IRA must be held by a bank or an IRS approved non-bank trustee. Gold IRA custodians can elect to use any number of 3rd party approved depositories. But most will have a handful that they prefer to work with. Below is a list of the most common depositories precious metals custodians use for your precious metals safekeeping.

Company Name Company NameCompany Name
Delaware Depository
(302) 765-3889
Brinks Global Services
(877) 527-4657
International Depository Services
(888) 322-6150
First State Depository
(302) 765-2760
CNT Depository
(508) 807-4815
(877) 877-0560
Idaho Armored Vaults
(208) 468-3600
Delaware Depository - Nevada
(302) 765-3889
Texas Depository
(361) 594-3624

Beware of Precious Metals IRA Custodian Reviews

If you’re new to the world of Self Directed gold IRA custodians, you may find yourself researching the “best” companies out there. And you may come across some “precious metals IRA custodian reviews”. But beware, because you may find yourself in hot water, if you don’t know what to watch out for.

You see, savvy affiliate marketers have discovered that they can create fake “reviews” that supposedly “independently” evaluate gold IRA companies and then sell your information to the highest bidder as seen below. 

What is a gold company affiliate marketer? A website that creates fraudulent “reviews” of gold dealers and receives a flat fee or percentage of the gross IRA account value for referring a customer to them.

These gold IRA companies are almost always in Southern California, have tons of complaints, and charge the highest buy/sell spreads in the industry.

To find out if a gold IRA company gives a chunk of your retirement account to affiliates, call 800-300-0715 today and ask for our complete list of “FAKE REVIEW DEALERS”.

When you call you can always learn about our recommended precious metals IRA custodians or receive help with your paperwork.

Frequently Asked Gold IRA Custodian Questions

What’s the difference between a gold IRA custodian and a gold IRA company?

A gold IRA custodian is the trust company that facilitates your gold IRA. They help to keep you compliant with IRS reporting requirements, Required Minimum Distributions and the administering of your gold IRA account. A gold IRA custodian will also send you quarterly statements with the value of your gold and silver holdings.

A gold IRA company is a precious metals broker. They buy and sell gold, silver and other precious metals. They can help you to set up a gold IRA with a self directed IRA custodian and manage the complete process.

Do gold IRA custodians offer other investments as well?

Yes. Self Directed gold IRA custodians will typically allow you to invest in traditional retirement assets like stocks, bonds and mutual funds as well. Most will also permit investing in other alternative assets like real estate, private placements and even crypto currencies.

Are my precious metals physical?

Yes, the Certified Gold Exchange only deals in tangible, physical gold, silver, platinum and palladium mostly from sovereign mints.

Do gold IRA custodians allow me to store my gold at home?

No, home storage gold IRAs are prohibited. Per the IRS, precious metals within an IRA must be stored at a 3rd party depository. Your gold IRA custodian will typically have relationships with a few precious metals depositories.

Written by Gold IRA Experts Pat Collins and John Halloran

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    We Do Not Allow Visitors to Our Call Centers. 
    The Certified Gold Exchange is a national volume discount dealer supplying popular bullion and PCGS certified coins. Since 2020 most of our representatives work remotely. We no longer allow visitors to our Fort Worth Call Center but you can still get the same great service by calling.
    Our institutional staff does take visits from bank, and corporate clients. 
    To learn more about this policy please call 800-300-0715

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