Recommended IRA Providers

I’m not in the business of doing a rating service on IRA providers. I’m sure there are good ones and bad ones out there. I have no idea which is which since I have very limited first-hand experience via my own or my clients’ IRAs and have neither the means nor the inclination to do a scientific survey. Plus my law firm represents several IRA providers, and many IRA providers hire me as a speaker, so I’m hardly a disinterested judge of IRA providers.

So this section is NOT about “Natalie’s recommended IRA providers.” My ONLY intent here is to let the professional planning community know of any IRA providers that offer an unusual service that I’m aware of. It’s YOUR job as the advisor to vet these providers and figure out if they can do a good job for your client.

There are three questions I get frequently in the nature of professionals looking for IRA providers:

Where can I find an IRA provider that will hold nontraditional investments? Which providers offer “individual retirement trusts” (also called trusteed IRAs)? And, which IRA providers will allow fiduciaries to transfer IRAs, intact, out of a trust or estate? For the last question, see the Bulletin Board on this website. For the other two questions, see below.

Note to IRA providers: If you provide one of the services above listed I’d be glad to mention that fact here. I need a snail mail letter on your company letterhead addressed to Natalie B. Choate, Esq., Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, World Trade Center West, 155 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA 02210-2604, explaining your policy and giving me permission to post it on my website. Email will not do.

The following IRA providers are in the business of holding nontraditional investments:

Entrust Group is not an IRA custodian, but it is a company devoted to facilitating IRA direct investment in real estate. They have offices all around the country.

PENSCO Trust Company is an IRA provider that advertises it can hold “alternative investments,” such as notes and mortgages, real estate, private stock and LLP/LLC shares, in your IRA (East and West coast locations). Call 866-818-4472 (a human actually answered the phone when I called!) or visit

The following IRA providers offer trusteed IRAs (also called individual retirement trusts):

See the articles in Choate’s Notes Summer 2005 issue regarding the pros and cons of trusteed IRAs, and what they are.

U.S. Trust is one of the leading providers of trusteed IRAs at this time.

KeyBank is a provider of trusteed IRAs. Cleveland-based, with numerous offices in lots of other places.