FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: I am an investment provider raising capital. How can STRATA help me and my investors who want to use IRA funds to invest in my offering?
STRATA can help your capital raising efforts by streamlining the process for IRA investments in your particular fund or entity. With STRATA’s online account opening platform, your investors can open an IRA and electronically submit their documents for funding their IRA and investing in your offering.
At STRATA, our service to you and your clients or investors is a reflection on you, and we firmly believe that your success is our success. We strive to deliver an excellent experience every time. For more information about what STRATA can offer or to learn what sets us apart from other IRA providers, click here or call (866) 928-9394 to speak with one of our Business Development Representatives.
Q: Does STRATA offer institutional IRA services to investment sponsors, platforms, asset providers and financial advisors?
You bet! STRATA’s Institutional Services are available for volume-driven relationships and provide robust, scalable solutions to help meet the needs of start-ups or larger established providers. STRATA offers options ranging from a full API-driven solution that enables seamless IRA account opening within your investment platform to a custom solution that requires fewer resources.
Whether you choose an end-to-end integration for a seamless client experience or a co-branded microsite to provide a simpler, more efficient way of handling clients IRA opening, funding and investing, STRATA will work with you each step of the way to minimize handoffs and eliminate data duplication.
Q: What other features does STRATA offer?
- A dedicated relationship manager
- Periodic reports that let you track your IRA investors at a frequency that works for your business – new accounts, transfer status, investment funding, RMDs and more
- Quick setup of new investments
- Online account access for you to track and view all of your STRATA clients from one login
- IRA marketing support
- IRA training and operational support for your team
- Deep self-directed IRA and alternative investment expertise, with over 350 years of combined experience
There’s a reason STRATA has climbed the ranks as a national leader in self-directed IRAs so quickly – and it’s not through acquisitions. We’re one of the few IRA custodians that can lay claim to 100% organic growth, primarily through word-of-mouth referrals.
Q: Can STRATA advertise or promote my fund to their clients?
Unfortunately, STRATA’s role in this process is solely as a directed custodian and we do not solicit or endorse investments that are held by any of our account owners.
Q: What documents does STRATA need for its administrative review of an investment opportunity?
The following Investment Checklists outline the documentation needed for some of the most popular types of investments that are held by STRATA’s self-directed IRA clients:
- Real estate (for directly-owned property)
- Private equity (for private LPs, LLCs, or closely-held stock)
- Private debt (for trust deeds, mortgage contracts or corporate debt offerings)
- Precious metals
- Structured settlements
- Futures trading
- Public investments (for public LPs and REITs as well as brokerage accounts for exchange-traded securities)
Don’t see your investment type or have additional questions? Check out our Investment Options page or give us a call at (866) 928-9394.
Q: As a capital raiser, do I need to provide valuations to STRATA for all my IRA investors who hold my investment with STRATA?
Yes. The IRS requires that IRA custodians report the value of IRAs each year to account owners and to the IRS. Given this rule, we require that investment providers and asset sponsors provide STRATA with a valuation for each investment held at least once per year.
Whether you are updating the fund’s share/unit price or an IRA investor’s capital account balance, STRATA will notify you each year and provide the necessary form and your investor list. STRATA is also happy to update the value of any investor’s asset holding if you provide us with a statement. Issuers and investment sponsors can send statements to InvestmentUpdates@StrataTrust.com for processing.
Q: As an independent Financial Advisor or Investment Sponsor, what does STRATA offer to my 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 an IRA custodian differ from an IRA 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 STRATA IRA fees for my clients?
Q: How do I rollover assets from a client’s 401(k) or other eligible workplace retirement plan to a STRATA 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 or investor’s plan administrator to get the distribution packet and complete the paperwork by selecting a direct rollover to STRATA.
- Step 2: If your client or investor is not already a STRATA account holder, they 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: Have your client or investor complete STRATA’s Deposit Certification form to certify the rollover.
- Step 4: Return the completed forms in the distribution packet to the plan administrator and provide a copy to STRATA, along with the Deposit Certification form.
Q: What products do you offer?
As a custodian, we don’t sell, promote or offer any investments nor do we provide financial, tax or legal advice. Rest assured, we’ll never compete with you for your client’s business. STRATA provides the required IRA administration and asset custody services for Traditional, Roth, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs. We can invest the funds into the investment(s) you or your client’s choose.
Q: What kind of assets can STRATA custody?
We specialize in the custody of alternative and traditional assets, primarily held in self-directed IRAs, including:
- Directly-Owned Real Estate
- Investment Crowdfunding Platforms – equity and debt
- Private Equity – LLCs, LPs, hedge funds and private or closely-held stock
- Private Debt – secured promissory notes, corporate debentures
- Trust Deeds and Mortgage Contracts
- Futures Trading
- Structured Settlements
- Gold and Precious Metals
- Oil and Gas Investments
- Public Investments – including public non-traded LPs, REITs, BDCs, closed-end and interval funds
- Brokerage Accounts – for exchange-traded mutual funds, ETFs and other public securities
- 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 may 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 the Insights Blog 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 Forms library, covering all service needs of opening, funding or investing a Traditional, Roth, SEP or SIMPLE IRA, as well as taking an IRA distribution, account maintenance; investment maintenance and information on disclosures. For professionals, we also include our Investment Checklists that detail what documents to submit to STRATA for setting up a new investment.
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 may complete a partial transfer for only the investment(s) they wish to hold. Often times, the STRATA IRA will be one part of your client’s overall retirement portfolio.
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. Some firms can process a transfer to STRATA within several business days. 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. However, even some plan administrators are able to process participant rollovers within a few business days.
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 – or visit our Forms section on our website (under Purchase).
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, STRATA maintains 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. This insurance provides coverage in the unlikely event of error or employee dishonesty by STRATA Trust Company. Since clients select and direct their investments, the account holders are ultimately responsible for the performance of their investments.
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.
Q: Does STRATA’s platform integrate with my Portfolio Management System?
Coming soon! STRATA is working on an integration solution for a variety of online portfolio management systems, including Advent, Black Diamond Reporting, Addepar, Broadridge, Morningstar, Orion and more. To obtain a full list of our integration capabilities that will be available, please call us at (866) 928-9394 to speak with one of our Business Development Representatives.