Welcome to Equity Trust

Thank you for choosing Equity Trust! Congratulations on completing step one of your self-directed investing journey!


Step 1 – Open Your Account

Step 2 – Fund Your Account

Once you open your account, it is like an empty bank account that needs a deposit. Here’s what to expect in this part of the process. There are three ways you can fund your account.

Transfer From Another IRA

Most of our clients are funding their accounts with this method. Most clients complete the transfer form during their account opening process. You can check the status of your transfer by visiting your client portal.

A cash transfer is a movement of funds between two IRA accounts. This process is initiated through the receiving custodian. The transfer process typically takes between 5-15 business days.

An "In-Kind" transfer is a movement of any NON-CASH asset between two IRA accounts. Because asset re-registration is involved, an "in-kind" transfer can take several weeks.

Rollover (From an Existing Employer Plan)

A rollover is a movement of funds or assets from a qualified plan (i.e., 401k, 403b, 457) to an IRA. To roll funds from a qualified plan to an IRA, you must have a triggering event. The most common triggering events are termination of employment or the plan. Rollovers are initiated through your current administrator. It is best to complete your administrator's "Direct Rollover" form. This form is where you will instruct them to send the funds directly to Equity Trust. Doing a direct rollover avoids a required federal withholding.



A contribution is non-qualified (personal) cash that an individual adds to their account. Please note that eligibility requirements (like earned income) and annual contribution limits apply. Contribution limits are based on the account type.

Once we receive the funds, we will send you an email. You can check the status of your transfer by visiting your client portal.

Step 3 – Start Investing

A member of our client services team will be reaching out to you to welcome you to Equity Trust. They will discuss your investment intentions and arrange to have investment documents approved. They will also record a verbal verification of your upcoming transaction. 


Client Portal

If you need something, your client portal is the best place to go. Within the portal, you can:

  • Access account balances
  • Make contributions
  • Make distributions
  • Pay bills associated with investments held in your account
  • Manage your contact information
  • View account alerts
  • Access transaction documents
  • See IRS filings
  • Access quarterly and year-end statements

Asset market values and statements on the portal are only as accurate as the information provided to us. Many clients choose to update asset values yearly on December 31st.

Equity Pay (For Real Estate and Private Lenders)

Equity Pay is an essential tool for real estate investors' tenants and private lending borrowers!

If your account owns real estate or lends money, you can expect regular payments from your tenant or borrower. Payments need to flow directly to your account. You could jeopardize the tax status of your plan if you accept payments personally on behalf of your account. To make these payments to your account easy, Equity Trust has set up a payment portal. This means:

  • Checks will not get lost in the mail
  • No delays or worrying about payments being late
  • No need to remember to send payment with the recurring payment option
  • Ensuring payments go to your account to maintain your tax-advantaged status

Please contact (239) 333-1032 to set up account payments via the payment portal.

Your Account

Investment Management

Equity Trust is not an asset manager or loan servicer. Equity Trust performs tax reporting and recordkeeping services for the assets in your account. We do not monitor your account activity and performance. If your investment has expenses associated with it, you need to ensure you pay any bills related to the asset from your account. You may reimburse a non-disqualified asset manager from your account on an as-needed basis. You may request payment for any due expenses through your client portal.

Privacy and Authorized Account Designations

At Equity Trust, we take the protection of your information seriously. When you call for account-specific information, our representatives verify your identity. Doing this ensures we are not providing your information to an unauthorized party.

You may choose to have an authorized member on your account. These members can include a family member, a professional advisor, or another designated party. These members' access to your account has some notable differences laid out below.

  • Interested Party Designation allows another party to have query access to your account. The party will have full access to your account information but cannot complete transactions on your behalf.
  • Limited Power of Attorney allows another party full access to your account. They also have the ability to complete certain transactions on your behalf.

For more information on granting account access, contact us at (239) 333-1032.

Annual Requirements

Annual Fair Market Valuation

We must receive an updated Fair Market Value (FMV) annually. We have to report the FMV to the IRS. If an asset's value is not readily known, Equity Trust will contact clients or investment sponsors to obtain the year-end value. We do this between January and March each year. When you provide the asset’s current value, you must supply all supporting documentation to substantiate the value. Substantiation may include recent bank statements, appraisals, tax assessor values, professional opinion letters, or market comparisons. Supporting documentation cannot be more than 30 days old.

Annual Billing

Equity Trust assesses recordkeeping fees annually on the first business day of the month in which you opened your account. We then bill you for non-recurring requests at the time they are processed. These requests can include new purchases, wire transfers, check fees, and overnight mail. For more details about which fees we assess, please review your fee schedule.

Annual Tax Reporting

Equity Trust reports distributions on IRS Form 1099-R in January of each year. If you have taken any distributions in the previous tax year, we will mail you a copy of this form to the address on file. You can expect to receive this notice in the first week of February. Equity Trust also files IRS Form 5498 every May. Form 5498 shows the prior year-end balance and any contributions or rollovers made to the account during the previous tax year. Both Forms will be available in the Documents section of your  client portal.

Prohibited Transactions

What Is a Prohibited Transaction?

According to the IRS, a prohibited transaction is any improper use of your IRA account by you, your beneficiary, or any disqualified person.

What Investments Are Not Permitted in an IRA Account?

The IRS does not provide a list of allowable investments for IRA accounts. Instead, they provide a list of prohibited investments such as:

  • Artwork
  • Rugs
  • Antiques
  • Metals (certain Government minted gold/silver/palladium/platinum are permitted)
  • Gems
  • Stamps
  • Alcoholic beverages

What Are the Potential Consequences of a Prohibited Transaction?

Failure to follow the IRS's prohibited transaction regulations may lead to costly consequences. This could also jeopardize the tax status of your plan. Consult with your tax or legal advisor about what may be deemed prohibited before engaging your IRA in any transaction.

To learn more about prohibited transactions, view our Rules and Regulations Guide for free.

About Equity Trust Company

Equity Trust Company is a qualified custodian of IRAs and other accounts. We hold “self-directed” accounts, which means the accounts can hold a variety of investment types, including precious metals.

Self-directed account custodians do not provide investment advice, but they do provide custodial and reporting services, and will process your purchases per your direction through your IRA.