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The Complete Guide To Self Directed Gold IRA Custodians

In this Guide You Will Discover:

  • How To Choose A Custodian
  • About Gold IRA Custodian Fees
  • How to Get Help With Your Paperwork
  • 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 downloading the “10 Gold IRA Scams Dealers Use On You“.

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 collectibles.

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.

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.
Gold 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 fees for precious metals accounts. We’ve also included direct links to their fee schedules.

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
Millenium Trust CompanyNo.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 gold IRA custodians use for your precious metals safekeeping.

Company NameCompany 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

Beware Of “Best Gold IRA Custodian” Review Sites

If you’re new to the world of Self Directed gold IRA custodians, you may find yourself researching the “best” companies out there. Because after all, wouldn’t you like to work with the best, most reputable firm? Of course you would. But this is where you can get into hot water, if you don’t know what to watch out for.

Savvy affiliate marketers have discovered that they can create fake “review” websites where they “independently” evaluate gold IRA companies and then sell your information to the highest bidder.

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 gold IRA custodians or receive help with your paperwork.

Written by Pat Collins and John Halloran

Belinda MurelBelinda Murel ★★★★★ Working with Pat and the team at Certified Gold Exchange made the process of diversifying my retirement savings stress free. I’m confident the selection of precious metals offered were the best fit for my situation and at the best price. No high pressure sales tactics, just fact based answers to the questions and concerns I had. Highly recommend.Timothy FeeleyTimothy Feeley ★★★★★ Working with Certified Gold Exchange has been a positive experience. Working with Pat is not just working with another business vendor, I feel I am working with a trusted advisor. No hard sells. No wild claims. His explanation of the paperwork process between companies and his follow-up during the process is excellent. I appreciate his fact-finding approach to my specific needs. He always had time for me to ask questions and/or discuss ideas I was thinking about. A good business relationship.Warren RichardsonWarren Richardson ★★★★★ I had an excellent experience with Certified Gold Exchange. I dealt directly with Pat Collins who was professional, knowledgeable, informative, and very easy to work with. He responded quickly and precisely to any and all of my questions. Very highly recommended!Edward AlbertEdward Albert ★★★★★ I was looking to liquidate the precious metals in my IRA . The horror stories I had heard of about some gold and silver dealers had me very apprehensive. When I called Certified Gold Exchange and talked with Patrick, I quickly felt a sense of trust in his voice. He answered all my questions and understood my fear of getting taken advantage of. He and his team work very hard behind the scenes ensuring the transaction to go smoothly. As a result CGE has earned my 5 star rating! I will contact them again if I want to buy or sell in the future!ALAN BROWNALAN BROWN ★★★★★ Certified Gold Exchange's website really jumped out to me as I began researching precious metal IRA's. I found it to be incredibly comprehensive and informative, answering questions I did not even know to ask and alerting me to bad practices within the industry as well. So, I called and found the CGE team to be every bit as helpful as the website. They were responsive immediately and throughout the process of establishing an account and funding it. They were particularly helpful when dealing directly with my current custodian and getting funds rolled over. Pat and Mary have been courteous, personable, and very professional working with me and even helped with questions outside the immediate business at hand. I have already referred friends to CGE and will continue to do so.Alison WeinbergAlison Weinberg ★★★★★ Pat and team are very knowledgeable and professional!Ismail KenessyIsmail Kenessy ★★★★★ Customer since 2005. Professional, courteous, and helpful. CGE walked me through the process and provided the best prices available with minimum costs. Excellent service.Joe MurrayJoe Murray ★★★★★ What super service I received from the Certified Gold Exchange precious metals IRA team. Wow is all I can say! I had a large amount of coins in a gold and silver IRA for many years and decided to sell. I spent just about a whole day talking to several metals dealers about purchasing my metals. Call after call I did not feel good about what I was hearing with these dealers so I called the company that helped me set the gold and silver IRA up. Their name is Broad Financial LLC. I explained the problem I was having with finding a buyer and they said that is common in the industry. They told me to call the Certified Gold Exchange, Inc in Fort Worth, Texas. I spoke with Mr C there and was impressed that their quote was above the spot price (because I was hoping to get the spot price). They explained that American Eagles buy back at over spot and I said not with all the other dealers I called. I shipped the metals to their New York depository following the Certified Gold Exchange's instructions. Candace at CGE tracked the package every step of the way and I was updated along the way. Then when my metals arrived at the Certified Gold Exchange depository they told me that several of my coins were actually American Eagle Proof coins, not the bullion version I thought I had. They increased their original quote by $3000.00 dollars! Shocking that a company would be so honest because they could have just sent the original amount and I would have been happy. Needless to say I will never deal with a different metals dealer except the Certified Gold Exchange. Their gold IRA team is the best by leaps and bounds. I highly recommend Candice, Mr. C and the CGE team to any one looking to buy or sell metals with a great experience. Americans trusted source For Gold is not just a tagline with these folks.ted okolowiczted okolowicz ★★★★★ After searching and checking out different metals companies, I decided that Certified Gold Exchange Inc. was my choice. They have exceeded my expectations and made my IRA rollover easier than I thought.You can be very confident by the way every step was handled (very professional).So kudos to the whole TEAM and thank youJoseph GlassmanJoseph Glassman ★★★★★ I had a very good experience with Certified Gold Exchange and I highly recommend anyone considering a IRA Rollover into precious metals, talk to David White at Certified and do business with them. They are honest and will have your best interest as their concern.. David took care of my needs completely with honest and fair pricing. I shopped around and decided on Certified.Lefty and Mary JamoraLefty and Mary Jamora ★★★★★ Thank you David and Pat for educating us on the gold and silver markets. Pat especially helped us thru our first purchase of silver.M PhommahaxayM Phommahaxay ★★★★★ So glad I found CGE! Although, they don’t do business in my state, David White was so kind to take the time out of his busy schedule to educate me on precious metal investing. His advice was extremely valuable which saved me a ton of money. I would definitely recommend and refer any of my friends or family members interested in investing in precious metals in their service area. So thankful for David and this company!Rickey JohnsonRickey Johnson ★★★★★ My experience so far with Certified Gold Exchange was all very positive. Everything went smoothly and P. Collins was awesome in helping us navigate through the process.Aaron BrabhamAaron Brabham ★★★★★ I called Certified Gold Exchange to get information on a crypto currency IRA. I had a ton of questions and Steve not only answered all of them but also informed me of many things I had not thought of.I decided to invest $60k and in just three months it's over $120k! Not only that, the team at Certified Gold Exchange has excellent customer service.I highly recommend them.Mark OLearyMark OLeary ★★★★★ Philip with the certified gold exchange was incredibly helpful in helping me to setup a Cryptocurrency IRA. He knew exactly what questions to ask my existing custodian to make the rollover as seamless as possible. In just a short few months with the recommendations of Philip; I have already seen over a 250% return on my investment. Highly recommended.Gal TabGal Tab ★★★★★ The reason I give it the maximum stars is because everything happened just the way they planned it. I invested a considerable sum of money with them and as anyone would be, I was a little scared. I did my research and They came highly recommended as being ethical brokers. Their fees are very competitive and look forward to doing more business with them.Diana FincherDiana Fincher ★★★★★ I rolled over my IRA into Silver a couple of years ago and made a friend! Agent Pat C, Certified Gold Exchange, Inc., has far exceeded my expectations with continuing, careful watch over my investment. He always surprises with immediate personal response to my slightest question and inspires confidence to hold to The Plan. Pat’s personal touch and excellent recall is reassuring and has proven that he will keep me informed when any changes are advised. Ask for Pat - he’s excellent, excellent!Steve AstinSteve Astin ★★★★★ This was the 3rd company I called and by far the most professional. Thanks Patrick for the great service!Alicia O'RearAlicia O'Rear ★★★★☆ Thank you for donating 16 bibles for our foster children at Albuquerque Christian Children's Home! This is a wonderful company with a heart for ministry.Kyle SandersKyle Sanders ★★★★★ I was interested in doing a gold IRA rollover and contacted several firms after researching on the web. Certified Gold Exchange's website had the most useful information by far compared to other firms. Their representatives have been a pleasure to work with--professional, answered every question I had, and I'd recommend them to anyone looking at a gold IRA rollover.Robby BryantRobby Bryant ★★★★★ I am a Certified Financial Planner, and Certified Gold Exchange has helped us purchase gold for 16 years without a hitch for our clients and at excellent prices. We couldn’t be more satisfied!Anne SayreAnne Sayre ★★★★★ My husband and I were thrilled with the service we received at Certified Gold Exchange! Shipping our gold to us was quick and very simple. So happy we did not have to pay for the TV advertisements with celebrities like so many of the other precious metal companies. We will be buying again from CGE!Neenah PayneNeenah Payne ★★★★★ Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. is a highly professional firm that was a pleasure to do business with. It provides fast and accurate service. The firm went out of its way to be helpful on a number of key issues. I highly recommend them. I was extremely lucky for several reasons to have called the Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. when I was ready to sell my gold and silver coins. When I called the firm, Liam on the service desk explained that they scan hundreds of gold dealers to get me the best price. That was very comforting.When I spoke with coin dealer David White, he was able to give me a quote in 3.5 hours. He also explained the importance of shipping my coins via registered mail with the Post Office. David said that the Post Office requires a registered box to be sealed with brown paper tape to prevent tampering. David emailed me links to sites that showed the right tape to use and how to seal the box. He called several UPS stores in my neighborhood to try to find the tape for me. In the end, I bought the tape from the Post Office. David explained that while Fedex and UPS would ship the coins, since they are not allowed to ship gold or silver, I would have no recourse if my coins were lost. David even gave me his home number so I could reach him after hours if necessary.My experience with Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. stands in stark contrast with how two other coin brokers responded. The firm from which I had bought most of my silver coins never called me back. On November 13 when I called the broker from whom I had bought most of my gold coins, I couldn't get through on the phone. So, I emailed them and it took 5 days for them to respond! The broker didn't give me a quote until December 2 -- and then only for some of the coins! He said he would tell me what they would pay for the other coins after I shipped them!In addition, that broker explained that one of their customers had lost all their coins valued at $22,000 because the box was tampered with and they had failed to insure them for the full amount. However, I knew by then that if the firm had told the customer to ship the coins via registered mail as Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. does, the box could not have been tampered with.So, Certified Gold Exchange, Inc. is the only gold and silver dealer I recommend. The level of service is truly remarkable.Jovita GarcesJovita Garces ★★★★★ What do you do with what little you have to put away for the future? After my divorce 16 years ago, I decided I needed to find an IRA and invest my children's money into something that would retain and grow in value through the years. I found a great website called Certified Gold Exchange that intrigued me and when I called, John listened and understood my needs and helped me understand the value of investing in rare coins and precious metals before taking that all important step. I am happy I took a leap of faith knowing the prospect for growth in my precious metals IRA and children's funds for college and maybe first home some day was very real. I believe I made the best choice for our future. I can always trust CGE to give me honest and dependable service everytime I call in them.Maria SMaria S ★★★★★ Patrick Collins and Certified Gold Exchange (CGE) Team: I appreciate the support, you took me on for this transaction when I wasn’t even an existing client. (Yes I know CGE made some money). It was you manner, caring and fast response that made me feel very comfortable with you.Your interest in helping me on such short notice shows how much you care for your clients. I hope 🤞 to have you as one of my financial team in the future.Natalia ArizaNatalia Ariza ★★★★★ Certified Gold Exchange is the best metals company in the US hands down!Paul LiftonPaul Lifton ★★★★★ Piper PetersonPiper Peterson ★★★★★ It's not always the case with precious metals dealers but the Certified Gold Exchange hires the best advisors in the industry and this is the reason for their outstanding reputation.Eric BenjaminEric Benjamin ★★★★★ We have purchased from several dealers and hands down these guys have been the best. Above and beyond are the words I would use to describe their service. You will not be disappointed if you have been on the fence about buying!Josh SingerJosh Singer ★★★★★ Working with Certified Gold Exchange has been a great experience. The Certified Gold Exchange staff are very very good communicators and clearly have a lot of experience. Anytime we had a question or needed anything from them they responded the same day, if not the following morning. I would recommend working Certified Gold Exchange. Hands down great communicators and great business people.Burt DumertonBurt Dumerton ★★★★★ I have been working with Certified Gold Exchange Inc. since 2005 and have found them to give exceptional service and prices for precious metals. They have always treated me with great respect and given extraordinary personal attention to my account and to me personally. Their advice on many occasions have kept me from making some pretty serious errors in my investment decisions. They are prompt to return my calls and take special care to not be pushy or arrogant. Excellent to do business with. Give John a call.js_loader
Real vs Fake
Protect Your Retirement!
Avoid These 10 Gold IRA Scams.

10 Gold IRA Scams Dealers Use On You

10 Gold IRA Scams
Dealers Use On You

Secure your retirement! Avoid these 10 Gold IRA scams.

Secure your retirement!
Avoid these 10 Gold IRA scams.

    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

    10 Gold IRA Scams Dealers Use On You

    10 Gold IRA Scams
    Dealers Use On You


    Secure your retirement! Avoid these 10 Gold IRA scams.

    Secure your retirement!
    Avoid these 10 Gold IRA scams.

      Discover 7 Secrets Your Gold Dealer Doesn't Want You To Know