FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: As an independent Financial Advisor or Investment Sponsor, what does STRATA offer to my rollover clients that other custodians do not?
STRATA Trust can help you manage your client accounts through increased investment flexibility, simplicity of setting up and managing accounts, more control and consolidation of all your client’s retirement accounts into one IRA. But that’s just the beginning. Other advantages include:
- The custody of alternative investments that your firm may not hold, including closed-end and interval funds, business development companies (BDCs), hedge funds, direct participation programs and more.
- Our team delivers a fresh approach to accessibility – and that means quicker responses and faster processing times.
- Unmatched personalized service and dedication – we go the extra mile by providing status updates for your client’s transactions, annual required minimum distribution (RMD) calculations, deposit notifications, IRS reporting documentation, proper titling of accounts, etc.
- Experience that you can count on! As a national leader with over 350 years of combined experience in the self-directed IRA industry – that’s an average of almost 9 years per employee – we bring our experience to the table in working with you and your clients.
- We readily pivot to work with investment platforms, advisors and professionals of all sizes.
- Our ability to be flexible, balanced and accessible means you experience less red tape that permeates our larger competitors.
- As an IRA custodian subject to oversight by the Texas Department of Banking, you can rest assure that STRATA has robust regulation and compliance safeguards in place.
Q: How does STRATA as a custodian differ from a plan administrator?
As a regulated financial institution, STRATA’s operations are regularly examined by state banking regulators in the same way that banks are, which provides a higher level of safety and soundness. As a trusted advisor to your clients, it’s important to know the differences between an IRA Custodian and an IRA Administrator. Here’s the main takeaway ‒ although IRA Administrators must work through an IRA Custodian to provide their service, an IRA Administrator typically has no direct regulatory oversight, which can lead to lapses in the safeguarding of client custodial cash and assets.
When it comes to your client’s security and protection, not all IRA service providers are created equal. Simply stated, IRA Administrators should not have control of client cash or assets. By recommending an IRA Custodian for the custody of your client’s assets, you will provide a higher level of safety and soundness for your clients when it comes to important duties that involve having solid policies, procedures and internal controls in place, including:
- Setting up your clients’ accounts
- Depositing funds
- Processing investments
- Ensuring assets are titled correctly
- Fulfilling the IRS reporting requirements
- Issuing periodic statements of account activity
Q: What are your fees?
STRATA’s current fee schedule can be found on our Fees page.
- Q: How can I pay the fees for my clients?
Q: How do I rollover assets from a client’s 401(k) or Traditional or ROTH IRA to a self-directed IRA?
Moving retirement funds to a Rollover IRA at STRATA is really quite simple if you follow these easy steps for adhering to the IRA rollover rules:
- Step 1: Contact your client’s plan administrator to get the distribution packet and complete the paperwork by selecting a direct rollover to STRATA.
- Step 2: If your client is not already an account holder, you will need to open an IRA. Just follow the steps outlined in the IRA Account Kit, or use our secure, convenient portal to open an account online.
- Step 3: Return the completed forms in the distribution packet to the plan administrator and provide a copy to STRATA.
Q: What products do you offer?
We offer Traditional, Roth, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and we can direct the funds into the investment you choose.
Q: What kind of assets can STRATA custody?
Our specialties are alternative asset IRA accounts including:
- Real Estate
- Private Equity – LLCs, LPs, hedge funds and private or closely-held stock
- Private Debt
- Structured Settlements
- Gold and Precious Metals
- Oil and Gas Investments
- Public Investments – including public non-traded LPs, REITs, BDCs, closed-end and interval funds
- And more
Q: How can holding alternative investments in a STRATA IRA help my client’s asset allocation?
Alternative investments can offer your clients the potential to add an extra layer of diversification protection for their portfolios, as well as potentially higher returns with assets that have less correlation to the overall market. A STRATA IRA gives you the opportunity to combine these benefits with the tax advantages of self-directed IRAs. In addition, alternative asset IRAs can offer more flexibility for your clients to better manage overall portfolio tax impact across asset classes. Take a look at our Whitepapers or Insights section of our website to learn more.
Q: Are there any types of assets that STRATA will not hold?
Yes, STRATA will not process certain real estate investments including, but not limited to, timeshares, foreign real estate or property purchased through an auction or tax sale. Other investments such as unsecured promissory notes, single member LLCs and direct investments in cryptocurrency are asset types which STRATA will not custody.
Q: How often are client statements generated for advisor access?
Client statements are generated and available on a quarterly basis and you can access them through our portal. Your client must appoint you as their Account Designated Representative or Interested Party to have access, either on the STRATA IRA Application or Account Representative Designation Request form.
Q: What tools, support and infrastructure does STRATA provide Financial Advisors and Investment Sponsors to better manage their client IRA business?
All the resources that an investor needs are in our Resource Center or in our Documents and Forms library, covering service needs such as how to open a Traditional, Roth, SEP or SIMPLE IRA; how to fund an IRA or take an IRA distribution; how to purchase, transfer or rollover an investment; account maintenance; investment maintenance and information on disclosures.
If there’s anything else you need, feel free to reach out to our Client Services Team at: 866-928-9394.
Q: What is an IRA Direct Transfer?
A direct transfer is the movement of IRA funds or assets directly from one IRA custodian to another. Through a direct transfer, the IRA owner never takes possession of their retirement funds or assets. The main advantage of a direct transfer is that there is no tax liability or IRS reporting with the distribution. This is because funds are transferred from one institution to another. In most cases a direct transfer is a simpler option as it avoids having to comply with the 60 day rule and the possibility of incurring taxes and penalties.
Q: Are clients required to transfer their entire account in a direct IRA transfer?
No; clients can complete a partial transfer. STRATA’ self-directed IRAs can fit your client’s transfer preferences.
Q: How long does a Direct Transfer or Direct Rollover take?
A direct transfer from another IRA generally takes about 7-14 days, depending on the processing time needed for the receiving custodian. A direct rollover from an employer’s retirement plan generally takes 2-6 weeks, depending on how long it takes the plan administrator to process it.
Q: How are investments directed from an account at STRATA?
Due to the diverse nature of investments, we offer convenient investment checklists based on asset type to help you and your clients gather the information necessary to direct an investment. Please visit our Investment Options page to access the investment checklist that fits your needs.
Q: How many employees do you have?
STRATA currently has approximately 50 employees. For more information about our team, visit our Meet the Team page.
Q: Where are you located?
We have offices in both Austin and Waco, Texas, servicing you and your clients nationwide.
Q: How is STRATA insured or bonded?
Through Horizon Bank, we maintain a comprehensive insurance package, including financial institution bond policy, banker’s professional liability insurance and directors’ and officers’ liability insurance through underwriters rated A+ (excellent) by A.M. Best.
Q: How does STRATA keep my client’s information safe?
In addition to maintaining a comprehensive data recovery plan, including business continuity services and daily backup of data at a secure offsite facility, STRATA has strict policies in place to ensure the security of our clients’ records.
STRATA is committed to maintaining the highest level of integrity in our industry and have designed our business practices to protect our clients. Keeping client’s personal data and account information secure is a top priority. To guard against unauthorized access to your client accounts and to keep your client’s personal information safe, we:
- Protect your client’s personal information behind firewalls and encryption technology.
- Do not sell your client’s personal information to anyone.
- Go beyond login ID and password before allowing access to your client accounts with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
- Use advanced encryption technology to allow you and your client’s to safely communicate with STRATA using secure email.
- Continually train our employees to be vigilant when handling personal and financial information.