IRA Custodian For Gold: Choosing The Right Gold IRA Custodian For Your Portfolio

January 14, 2024

Choosing an IRA custodian for gold investments is an important yet difficult task. You must search through multiple websites to compare features, customer support, fees, storage options, and more.

After reviewing hundreds of gold IRA custodians, we've picked Equity Trust Company as the best gold IRA custodian since it has 50 years of expertise and $39 billion in assets from investors nationwide. It has also partnered with some of the best gold IRA companies in the U.S., like Augusta Precious Metals and Noble Gold Investments, offering a fee waiver for all storage and admin fees for the first year to let you experience its dedicated and personalized services.

Choosing a suitable IRA custodian for your gold investment is vital to secure, diversify, and grow your retirement savings. However, you should approach this task carefully. There are many fake or fraudulent custodians out there, and it can take just one simple click to get yourself trapped in a scam.

In this post, we'll discuss what an IRA custodian for gold is, how it works, its features to consider, the steps to do an IRA rollover with a gold IRA custodian, and the best gold IRA custodians to work with. Whether you're looking for a gold IRA custodian to diversify your retirement portfolio with gold or with other precious metals, you’ve come to the right place.

What Is An IRA Custodian For Gold?

An IRA custodian for gold, or, more commonly, a “Gold IRA custodian,” refers to a financial institution that helps you create and manage an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that primarily invests in precious metals like gold. A gold IRA custodian enables you to invest in physical gold with a gold IRA, unlike a traditional IRA that only allows you to invest in stocks and bonds or other paper assets like ETFs.

How Do Gold IRA Custodians Work?

A gold IRA custodian works like a specialized financial institution that helps you set up and manage an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that invests in gold or other precious metals. These companies usually partner with gold IRA companies to ensure a smooth process from opening an account and transferring your funds to purchasing your precious metals.

They're also responsible for regularly updating your retirement portfolio's performance while complying with IRS regulations. On the other hand, the company or the administrator is the one who executes your investments according to your instructions.

Overall, working with a legitimate gold IRA custodian is essential so you can diversify your portfolio while protecting your wealth for retirement.

IRS-Approved Gold And Silver Coins And Bars

When investing for retirement with a gold IRA custodian, you can only invest in IRS-approved gold and silver bullion. But how do you know if a gold coin or bar is eligible? The easiest way is to purchase directly from your custodian.

But, if you'd like to see a glimpse of the types of bullion you can invest in, read below.

IRA-Eligible Gold Coins And Bars

Gold coins and bars must meet the specific requirements of the IRS to be allowed in a gold IRA. You should check that your gold purchases are at least 99.9% pure (except for American Gold Eagle Coins, which can be 99.5% pure) and that they’re produced by government mints like the U.S. Mint or by reputable IRS-approved private mints like United Precious Metals Refining, Inc.

IRA Custodian For Gold: Choosing The Right Gold IRA Custodian For Your Portfolio

Here’s a list of popular gold products you can invest in:

  • American Gold Eagle Coins (are allowed even though it has only 91.67% purity)
  • American Buffalo Gold Coins
  • Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coins
  • Austrian Philharmonic Gold Coins
  • Australian Kangaroo Gold Coins
  • PAMP Suisse Gold Bars
  • Credit Suisse Gold Bars
  • Royal Canadian Mint Gold Bars
  • Johnson Matthey Gold Bars
  • Perth Mint Gold Bars
  • Valcambi Suisse Gold Bars

IRA-Eligible Silver Coins and Bars

Like gold, silver coins and bars should be produced by a government or a reputable private mint. Your purchases should also meet certain purity standards. In the case of silver, it must be at least 99.9% pure.

IRA Custodian For Gold: Choosing The Right Gold IRA Custodian For Your Portfolio

Here’s a list of popular silver products you can invest in:

  • American Silver Eagle Coins
  • Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coins
  • Silver Britannia Coins
  • Australian Silver Kookaburra Coins
  • Mexican Silver Libertad Coins
  • Austrian Silver Philharmonic Coins
  • Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bars
  • Johnson Matthey Silver Bars
  • Sunshine Mint Silver Bars

5 Features To Look For In A Reputable IRA Custodian For Gold

When choosing a custodian, you can compare them based on different features. Here are the 5 most important features to look out for when making your choice.

#1 Experience And Reputation

Choose a gold IRA custodian with a solid track record and expertise in the precious metals industry. The size of the custodian’s holdings can also tell you about their knowledge and capabilities.

For example, the Equity Trust Company has 50 years in financial services and holds over $39 billion worth of assets from investors in all 50 states. This means that many investors have trusted this company as their precious metals custodian.

#2 Transparent Fees

Every IRA custodian has a unique fee structure that separates it from its competitors. It’s not always easy to find this fee structure, sometimes requiring you to scroll through the website and through the company’s FAQs section.

However, most good precious metals IRA custodians like Equity Trust and STRATA Trust clearly display their fee schedule on a dedicated page on their website or in a way that’s always easy to find. The more transparent a custodian is with its fee structure, the more trustworthy the company and the less likely you’ll be hit hidden fees.

#3 Customer Support And Accessibility

Good customer support is one of the things you should always consider when choosing your gold IRA custodian. Its support team should always demonstrate being well-informed about precious metal investments and IRS regulations to give you the guidance you need as an investor.

You can check how responsive a custodian’s support team is when addressing customers’ concerns by reading the customer reviews on review sites like Better Business Bureau (BBB) or TrustPilot. You can also read the testimonials left by previous clients on a custodian's website, but most of these are biased; thus, reading from a trusted third-party source is more recommended.

#4 Secure Storage Facilities And Personal Information Protection

When you decide which custodian will hold your gold IRA, you must see that it has an advanced security system to protect both your assets and your personal information. Sturdy facilities with 24/7 security personnel and round-the-clock video surveillance are the bare minimum to expect.

The company’s website or electronic platform should also be protected with encryption technology to prevent unauthorized access or hacks, and the company should explicitly state that it doesn’t sell your personal data to third parties.

Some of the most popular depositories that most custodians partner with are the Delaware Depository, Brink's Security Company, Texas Precious Metals Depository, and IDS Depository.

#5 Wide Range Of Precious Metals Investment Options

It's essential to choose a custodian that offers a diverse selection of precious metals like gold, silver, palladium, and platinum. You may have considered investing in gold for now, but there may come a time when you also want to allocate your funds to silver or another precious metal.

Funding Your Account: 5 Steps To Do An IRA Rollover With An IRA Custodian For Gold

To invest in gold in an IRA, you need to fund your account. The best way to do so is through an IRA rollover, which means transferring funds from an existing retirement account (e.g., an IRA, a 401(k), or another) into a gold IRA.

Here are 5 simple steps to follow to convert your existing IRA to a gold IRA through an IRA rollover.

Step #1 Choose A Reputable Custodian

You must first choose a reputable gold IRA custodian that allows you to invest in precious metals. There are hundreds of available gold IRA custodians online, but only a few have a good reputation among gold IRA investors.

If you're still looking for a gold IRA custodian, you can search for the best gold IRA companies online. These precious metals companies work with trusted IRA custodians to help you create and manage a gold IRA account.

For example, you can choose Augusta Precious Metals as your gold IRA company. It's currently working with Equity Trust as the number one preferred IRA custodian.

Step #2 Open A Gold IRA

After you've chosen your gold IRA company or a custodian, you can request an appointment through its website or contact them by phone to set up a gold IRA.

You'll be required to complete some mandatory paperwork and provide documentation to create a new self-directed IRA, allowing you to invest and manage precious metals in your retirement portfolio.

Step #3 Fund Your Precious Metals IRA By Doing An IRA Rollover

You can only invest in precious metals within your gold or precious metals IRA if you have funds in your new account. Thus, you must work with your custodian to transfer your existing funds from your previous IRA to the newly opened gold IRA.

You can do this process with a direct or indirect rollover. However, I recommend doing the direct rollover since it reduces the risk of incurring tax penalties.

At this stage, one-time setup fees (ranging from $50 to $300, depending on the custodian) and wire fees are usually involved.

Step #4 Purchase Your Precious Metals

After waiting a couple of weeks to have your funds transferred to your gold IRA, you can now purchase the precious metals you want. You can go through the website of the company or custodian to check the list of its IRA-eligible coins and bars. In the case of gold, this means at least 99.5% pure, and in the case of silver, at least 99.9% pure, to be included in your IRA.

You can choose from gold, silver, platinum, or palladium, depending on your risk tolerance and your investment strategy. The custodian’s customer support is always there to help you if you ever need assistance on which metal to choose.

Step #5 Store And Your Precious Metals Investments

Your custodian will store your precious metals in an IRS-approved depository to protect your assets from damages or theft. Under certain circumstances, you can choose to keep your metals at home, but it's not recommended because they can be vulnerable to theft, and you may not get tax benefits or could end up paying penalty fees to the IRS.

5 Best Gold IRA Custodians

IRA Custodian For Gold: Choosing The Right Gold IRA Custodian For Your Portfolio

With hundreds of gold IRA companies, finding the best one that suits your retirement goals can be tricky. That's why I've worked hard for you and created a list of the Best 5 gold IRA companies to invest in gold and other precious metals. So grab a coffee, and let's jump right in!

Best ForFeatures
Equity Trust Company Best For Fee Transparency
Popularly known for working with Augusta Precious Metals and Noble Gold Investments as their precious Metals IRA custodian.
Has a low account minimum of $2,000
Charges a flat annual fee of $225 for annual maintenance and storage fee (varies with your portfolio's size).
Waives all storage and admin fees for the first year when you set up an account through Augusta Precious Metals.
Has a Video Resource Center where you can learn more about the benefits of self-directed IRAs.
Strata Trust CompanyBest for customer supportPartners with American Bullion as its precious metals IRA custodian.
Offers a free precious metals investment guide you can download from its website.
Works with Delaware Depository to store your precious metals either in segregated ($100 per year) or non-segregated storage ($150 per year).
Displays its IRA Fee Schedule on its website for you to know its fees before investing.
Has helpful customer support specifically for precious metals investments that you can call or email (available weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm Central Time).
You can book a meeting if you seek guidance from financial professionals or get a phone call if  you'd like to learn more about investing in precious metals.
GoldStar Trust CompanyBest for a wide range of precious metals depositoriesOffers a number of depositories such as Delaware Depository, IDS of Delaware, TPMD Texas, and AMGL of Nevada.
Comes with a free downloadable Precious Metals Investment Kit that includes the forms and instructions you need to get started.
Has an Investor Services team to help you estimate your annual fees.
Provides segregated and non-segregated storage option for all precious metals for local and international investors.
The Entrust GroupBest for educational resourcesHas a low custodian fee of $199 annually for total asset value under $50,000.
Get $50 off the recordkeeping fees for each person you refer (up to $500).
Offers a B2B program to help grow your business by including the flexibility of your IRA in your investment strategy.
Provides a Learning Center that contains articles, whitepapers, videos, webinars, and more.
Has a 24/7 Entrust Client Portal and Mobile App to make it easier for you to see your account balance and transactions online wherever you go.
Midland IRABest for choosing your own depositoryYou can choose your depository between Delaware Depository, Texas Precious Metals Depository, IDS Depository, or Idaho Armored Vault Depository.
Provides the option to choose your personalized depository using a single-member LLC or checkbook IRA.
Offers a low storage fee of $95 for a non-segregated storage option with Delaware Depository

A Summary Of IRA Custodian For Gold

An IRA custodian for gold, commonly known as a gold IRA custodian, is a financial institution that helps you set up and manage a self-directed gold IRA. They usually work with a gold IRA company like Augusta Precious Metals to assist you in purchasing metals and providing regular tax reports.

Overall, a gold IRA custodian may allow you to invest in precious metals. However, before choosing which one is best for you and which investments to purchase, there are several things to consider, such as its experience, fee structure, and transparency, customer support, ads IRS rules and regulations.

After reviewing dozens of gold IRA custodians, we've picked Equity Trust Company as the best gold IRA custodian since it has 50 years of expertise and $39 billion in assets from investors nationwide. It has also partnered with some of the best gold IRA companies in the U.S., like Augusta Precious Metals and Noble Gold Investments, offering a fee waiver for all storage and admin fees for the first year to let you experience its dedicated and personalized services.

IRA Custodian For Gold FAQs

What is the best gold IRA custodian?

The best gold IRA custodian for most investors is the Equity Trust Company. Equity Trust is an industry-leading custodian with a 50-year track record of providing custodial services to investors. It also partners with Augusta Precious Metals and Noble Gold Investments to allow you to invest in precious metals like gold. The company waives all storage and admin fees for the first year when you set up an account with Augusta Precious Metals, saving you at least $225.

Do all IRAs have custodians?

Yes, all IRAs have custodians. An IRA is required to have custodians, which can be a bank, credit union, trust company, or any entity regulated by the IRS. Whether it's a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, or SIMPLE IRA, it should have a custodian to maintain the IRA by processing transactions and providing necessary reports to the IRS.

Who are the largest custodians of gold?

The largest custodians of gold are the United States, Germany, Italy, France, and Russia. The United States leads the gold industry, holding 8,133 tons of gold, with $480.84 billion in value. Russia is the fifth largest holder of gold, having 2,299 tons of gold with a value of $135.92 billion.

How much does a custodian charge for a gold IRA?

The amount that a custodian charges for a gold IRA depends on the services they offer. The fees may include but are not limited to one-time setup fees, transaction fees, wire fees, and annual maintenance and storage fees. You may also pay a flat fee for some custodians, but you may pay a percentage based on the value of your portfolio for others.

Why does my IRA have a custodian?

Your IRA has a custodian because the IRS requires one. Your custodian is responsible for executing investment decisions, like funding your account or purchasing precious metals. You also have them to ensure that your account complies with the rules and regulations of the IRS.

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