Equity Trust Company Review

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 5, 2022
Equity Trust
Overall Rating:
securely through Equity Trust's website

Equity Trust Company is an IRS-approved custodian helping individuals, businesses and financial professionals invest with a range of tax-advantaged investment accounts. It has more than $34 billion in assets under custody, with more than 130,000 client accounts and partnerships with over 10,000 financial professionals.

Equity Trust is backed by some of the most accredited names in the industry. Offering the ability to invest in a range of investments including alternative assets. The company has extensive experience with real estate IRA investing: Clients have bought, sold, and funded over 200,000 properties with their Equity Trust accounts. 

Best For
  • Individual investors seeking tax-advantaged accounts
  • Financial advisors and other financial professionals
  • Businesses looking for investment accounts for their employees
  • Reputable, IRS-approved custodian backed by top-ranked gold IRA firms
  • Numerous investment options, including stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), real estate, and other alternative assets
  • Servicing brokers, financial advisers, businesses, individuals, and other institutions
  • Annual renewal and storage fees remain the same on an annual basis and are not tied to account value for gold IRA accounts
  • Some accounts have an annual fee that is based on the account value. However, they do not charge transaction fees as some other institutions do
  • In some cases, fees can be higher compared to competitors

Equity Trust Ratings at a Glance

Equity Trust Product Offerings

Equity Trust is an IRS-approved custodian of alternative assets for retirement and other tax-advantaged accounts. It offers services to individual investors and institutions, with over 130,000 customer accounts as well as over 10,000 financial adviser partnerships.

Equity Trust specializes in the custody of alternative investments such as real estate, notes, hedge funds, managed futures, gold, and cryptocurrency within various types of tax-advantaged accounts. These can include traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs), Roth IRAs, Flex IRAs, and 401(k)s. 

Equity Trust was first approved as a non-bank directed custodian by the IRS in 1983 and has since grown into one of the most reputable firms in the industry. It maintains numerous strategic relationships with many top-ranked gold IRA firms. Equity Trust maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau

Equity Trust User Experience

As a provider of IRA custodial services, Equity Trust works with individuals, financial advisers, brokers, and institutions. Custodians are highly regulated companies that adhere to strict guidelines and standards for custody accounts. 

Because Equity Trust is a directed custodian, it does not provide tax, legal, or investment advice. It also does not sponsor or promote investment products. Instead, it works with investors or their dedicated team to educate, custody self-directed IRAs, and provide innovative technology. 

Equity Trust gives individual investors a way to have more control over their investing and financial goals. Through Equity Trust, they gain the ability to invest their retirement funds in alternative investments like real estate, peer-to-peer lending solutions, foreign currencies, and cryptocurrencies, in addition to stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. 

Businesses can set up retirement or tax-advantaged investment accounts for their employees through Equity Trust, and institutions and investment professionals can better serve their clients through the investment solutions provided by Equity Trust. 

Equity Trust Account Types

Equity Trust offers a wide range of investment products and tax-advantaged accounts for individual investors, financial professionals, and institutions.

Traditional IRA

A traditional individual retirement account (IRA) is a tax-advantaged retirement account. You contribute pre-tax dollars and access tax deductions. 

Your investments grow tax-free, and you can start making withdrawals at 59 ½ years of age. You may face a penalty if you choose to withdraw funds early. Withdrawals in retirement are taxed as income, so this account is best for individuals who will be in the same or lower tax bracket in retirement. 

Roth IRA

Roth IRAs are similar to traditional IRAs except that these accounts are funded with post-tax dollars. In other words, you’ll pay income taxes on your funds now but withdrawals in retirement will be essentially tax-free. You can only contribute up to $6,000 per year if you're 49 or younger. This limit is increased to $7,000 if you're 50 or older.

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)

A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan gives business owners a way to contribute toward their employees' retirement accounts as well as their own retirement savings. Contributions are typically made to SEP IRAs.

Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE)

Both employers and self-employed individuals can establish this retirement plan. It gives eligible employers and employees a way to contribute to a SIMPLE IRA. It’s ideal for small businesses or sole proprietors without access to a traditional employee retirement plan. 

Solo 401(k)

Solo 401(k)s are retirement accounts designed for self-employed individuals and businesses with no full-time employees other than the business owner and their spouse. It is funded with pre-tax dollars and has contribution limits up to $61,000 in 2022. This limit is increased to $66,500 if you’re 50 or older.

Custodial Services

Custodial services, or custodial accounts, are savings accounts set up by an adult for a beneficiary, typically a minor or someone younger than 21. It’s essentially an investment account in a child’s name that is managed by an adult and will only become accessible to the minor once they reach a certain age. Custodial accounts can be for education, retirement, or general savings. 

Health Savings Account (HSA)

These accounts are tax-advantaged medical savings accounts designed to help individuals pay qualifying medical expenses. Contributions are made pre-tax and can be used to cover deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and other expenses. There are contribution limits of $3,650 for self-only coverage and $7,300 for family plans.

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (CESA)

This is a tax-advantaged investment account to help pay for a child’s future education. Contributions are made pre-tax and can be used to cover everything from tuition and housing to books. Annual contribution limits can’t exceed $2,000.

Other Resources Offered

In addition to investment and savings accounts, Equity Trust also offers the following: 

Account Management Forms

Equity Trust makes it easy to manage your account. You can access account forms online and track the status of your request in real-time.

Forms for Professionals

Equity Trust also makes it easy for financial advisers and other investment professionals to manage their clients’ accounts. Industry professionals can access client forms and manage client accounts entirely online. 

Equity Trust Customer Service

Customers can manage a variety of functions online and from their portal, including billing. There’s a host of information available on Equity Trust’s website, but users can access the support team for more assistance. 

Equity Trust maintains a dedicated Customer Service staff Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST. You can get in contact through the toll free number: 888-382-4727. 

In line with Equity Trust’s commitment to transparency, the company maintains their phone number right on the homepage and at the top bar of the site - making it super simple to access. 

You can also find Equity Trust's physical address:

Equity Trust Company

1 Equity Way

Westlake, OH 44145

Equity Trust Overall Rating

Equity Trust provides custodial services to some of the biggest names in the financial industry, but it also extends its offerings to smaller players as well. Whether you're an individual who wants more control over your financial future or you’re a business looking for the right retirement plan for your employees, Equity Trust has solutions. 

It’s a trusted, veteran industry player that is also up to date with current market needs. It custodians a wide range of alternative investment assets and is a key industry leader when it comes to real estate. Most importantly, Equity Trust makes it easy for users to manage their accounts. 

Learn more about Equity Trust and how to start investing with the company here

Equity Trust vs Competitors

Top competitors for Equity Trust include IRA Financial, The Entrust Group, and Alto IRA. IRA Financial comes with additional educational resources for newer investors, The Entrust Group integrates with more advanced financial planning tools, while Alto IRA maintains lower fees in certain areas compared to Equity Trust.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to safeguarding your retirement savings, you can never be too careful. Take a look at some top FAQs about Equity Trust so you can make up your mind.


Is Equity Trust a bank?


Equity Trust is a financial services company and non-bank directed custodian helping individual investors, financial professionals and institutions diversify investment portfolios.


How is Equity Trust regulated?


Equity Trust Company is an IRS-approved custodian. They are regulated as a South Dakota trust company and comply with public trust company statutes and regulations mandated by the South Dakota Division of Banking. Equity Trust has completed the SOC (Service Organization Controls) Report, issued by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Its financial statements are audited annually by an independent certified public accountant, in accordance with AICPA professional standards.


What fees does Equity Trust charge?


Equity Trust maintains an all-inclusive fee structure. Fees are designated based on the size of an investment portfolio. You can review the complete list of fees here. There are no hidden fees.


Does Equity Trust provide investment dvice or act as a financial adviser?


No. Equity Trust functions as a custodian and does not provide tax, legal or investment advice. Instead, its focus is on empowering investors. However, they do work with financial advisers and other investment professionals.


Are my investments insured against loss by Equity Trust?


Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. As a directed custodian, Equity Trust will not provide investment advice or risk assessment of any investment. In general, you should be wary of anyone who implies an investment is guaranteed by a governmental agency or financial institution.

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