IRA Service Providers

The Difference is in the Details

For more than four decades, investors have been leveraging self-directed IRAs to invest in a wide range of alternative assets outside of publicly traded markets. Federal law requires these assets to be held by a custodian, like STRATA Trust Company (“STRATA”), which are overseen by state and federal authorities, in addition to abiding by strict internal controls and auditing measures to ensure operational compliance, data security, and risk management.

Custodians are generally banks and trust companies, and are responsible for:

  • Setting up your account
  • Depositing your funds
  • Processing your investments
  • Ensuring your assets are titled correctly
  • Fulfilling the IRS reporting requirements
  • Issuing periodic statements of your account activity

Non-Custodial IRA Administrators

Non-custodial administrators are allowed to service self-directed IRAs—however, they must work through a custodian in order to do so. Administrators are middlemen, not directly regulated by state or federal banking regulators, and often do not have onsite safety and soundness examinations conducted for their operation. While many administrators blur the lines by providing many of the same services as custodians, the key differences are that administrators do not have the authority to hold customer funds or title to customer assets in their name. It is recommended that investors work directly with a self-directed IRA custodian instead of an administrator to reduce risk of unsafe or unsound activity.

Finding the Right Fit for You

Not all custodians are created equal. Here are four factors you can formulate questions around to better understand if your chosen IRA service provider is a custodian that is the right fit for you:



Finding a custodian that has adequate experience in the self-directed IRA marketplace is important. Although custodians typically do not offer investment, tax, or legal advice, they can still help you understand IRS rules and regulations and inform you of potential pitfalls. With more than 350 years of collective experience in alternative assets, our team of IRA experts are here to help you navigate self-directed IRAs. IRA custodians often specialize in certain investment types. The investor should understand what type of asset classes the custodian specializes custody in, and what level of expertise they have around those asset classes. STRATA specializes in the custody of traditional, alternative and non-exchange traded investments.

Fee Transparency

Regulatory Oversight

STRATA’s IRA Fee Schedule is always easily accessible and straightforward. Many IRA custodians will go to market with a discount fee strategy but truly make their money on other fees such as asset holding, set-up or maintenance fees. Understanding the fee schedule and how it will impact the assets you would like to invest in is important. In addition to fees, investors should ask about the level of service and response times they should anticipate. All custodians have state and federal oversight; investors should understand the practices of those overseeing entities.  STRATA is a subsidiary of Horizon Bank and is chartered as a Texas trust company.  We are regulated by the Texas Department of Banking, which conducts regular examinations of our operation. In addition, we are audited regularly by independent auditing firms for IRA compliance. Not all states require this—familiarize yourself with the custodian’s regulatory requirements, and current procedures to ensure your selected IRA custodian aligns with robust regulatory oversight.

What Sets STRATA Apart

For starters, the experience and expertise we carry have helped thousands of investors and investment professionals hold self-directed retirement accounts in a wide range of alternative investments. Additionally, our commitment to service means investors have easy access to Client Service Team members and an entire library of SDIRA resources at their fingertips. Our customer-focused technology allows for seamless account management and streamlined transaction and asset transfer processes. And of course, we are completely transparent about our fees.

Experience the Value

STRATA Trust Company offers significant value compared to other custodians. See how we compare.




Calls answered by a live representative Yes, our goal is an average hold time of < 1 minute Most do not
E-signature for online account opening Yes Most do not
Required minimum cash balance $0 Most require a $300-500 cash balance
Required hold time (for use of funds) No Most require a 3-5 day hold
Transfer requests accepted by fax or email Yes Most require the investor to physically print, sign and send in
Turnaround times for investment processing Within 2 business days, 95% processed within 24 hours Most take 3-5 days to process
Email notifications from opening an account, requesting a transfer, depositing funds, investment processing and other service requests Yes May not offer
Ability to trade public securities through a brokerage account Yes Most do not


Financial Professionals

Streamlined and scalable institutional self-directed IRA solutions that deliver value to your investors

  • Custody services for a wide range of alternative assets
  • Robust experience with investment platforms
  • API Solutions
  • Pre-populated onboarding forms
  • Dedicated Relationship Managers
  • Custom data reports, documents and files
  • STRATA hosted SFTP sites


Individual Investors

Simple custody solutions for self-directed IRA investments allowing greater control and flexibility over retirement portfolios

  • No minimum cash balance
  • No hold time (for use of funds)
  • Customer Service Team that is quick to respond and easily accessible
  • Timely processing of investment transactions
  • Accurate tax reporting
  • Online account access 24/7

Take the next step, learn more about custodian and SDIRA account holder roles.

Get To Know Your Custodian

Ready to Start a Relationship with a Custodian You Can Trust?

We’re always happy to discuss the benefits of working with a custodian and how STRATA can help empower your financial future.