Equity Trust Company Reviews

Equity Trust Company Reviews
Equity Trust Company
Equity Trust Company is among the best custodians in the industry. However, they are not suitable for investing with directly. Their lack of specialization and personalization makes it difficult for me to recommend them to any investor.
Fees & Charges
Honesty & Transparency
Customer Service
Large pool of investment options
Over 50 years of experience
Not a BBB-accredited business
High annual IRA fees
Lack of personalized services
No focus on client education
Expert Score

What is Equity Trust Company?Equity Trust Company Locations, Timings, Email, Phone, Services

Equity Trust Company is a financial services firm that specializes in self-directed individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and other types of tax-advantaged accounts. It was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, United States.

Equity Trust Company primarily focuses on providing custodial services for self-directed IRAs, which offer individuals greater control and flexibility in managing their retirement funds.

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Unlike traditional IRAs, which typically limit investment options to stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, self-directed IRAs allow account holders to invest in a wide range of alternative assets, including real estate, private equity, precious metals, and more.

As a custodian, Equity Trust Company acts as the intermediary between the self-directed IRA account holder and the investment asset. They hold the assets on behalf of the account holder, process transactions, handle the necessary paperwork, and ensure compliance with IRS regulations and reporting requirements.

Equity Trust Company provides account holders with online account management tools, educational resources, and customer support to assist them in navigating the complexities of self-directed investing. Their services cater to both individual investors and small businesses looking to diversify their retirement portfolios.

  • Address: 1 Equity Way, Westlake, OH 44145
  • Phone: 855-355-ALTS (2587)
  • Fax: 440-243-9702
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: www.equityinstitutional.com
LOGO of the Equity Trust Company

People Behind Equity Trust Company: CEO, Owner, Co-Founders & MoreWho owns Equity Trust Company? What is the management team behind Equity Trust Company?

Mr. Richard Desich: Founder and Chairman of the Board

Richard Desich boasts an extensive background spanning over four decades in the securities industry. His expertise extends to various realms, including commercial and residential real estate, oil and gas investments, and non-traditional investing within IRAs and qualified plans. Widely recognized nationwide, Richard is considered a leading authority in these areas.

Richard has authored a highly informative book, “Self-Directed IRAs: Building Retirement Wealth Through Alternative Investing,” offering valuable insights into leveraging self-directed IRAs for alternative investment strategies. He has also contributed numerous articles discussing the utilization of self-directed IRAs for real estate, notes, and mortgages. Additionally, Richard has shared his knowledge with thousands of investors nationwide through speaking engagements on these subjects.

Furthermore, Richard Desich has actively dedicated his time and expertise to several organizations, serving on their boards. Notably, he has contributed over three decades as a member of the Board in Ohio.

Mr. Richard Desich: CEO of The Equity Trust Company

Mr. Jeffrey Desich: Executive Vice Chairman

Jeffrey Desich has built his career in the financial services industry, demonstrating his expertise and commitment throughout. Upon joining Equity Trust Company, he played a crucial role in leading the company through a period of significant transformation, overseeing multiple acquisitions and fostering organic growth.

Throughout his tenure, Jeffrey has assumed various key positions within the company, including Director of Operations and Client Services, Vice President of Operations and Client Services, and the President of Equity Administrative Services. Currently, he serves as the director for many companies. His leadership has been instrumental in shaping the company’s direction and success.

In addition to his contributions to Equity Trust Company, Jeffrey Desich serves as a director for several private companies, further leveraging his industry knowledge and experience. Moreover, he generously volunteers his time as a member of the Board of Trustees at Lorain County Community College, demonstrating his commitment to education and community involvement.

Jeffrey holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, specializing in finance and marketing, which he earned from The Ohio State University.

Mr. Jeffrey Desich: Executive Vice Chairman of the Equity Trust Company

Mr. Richard A. Desich, Jr: Co-Founder, Director

Richard Desich, Jr. has held several important roles within Equity Trust, showcasing his diverse skill set and expertise. He has served as the Chief Information Officer, Director of Compliance/Risk Mitigation, and Director of Marketing, contributing to the company’s strategic development and operational efficiency.

Beyond his contributions at Equity Trust, Richard has made significant contributions to the retirement industry as a whole. He has served as the President of the Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA), a prominent trade organization representing the self-directed retirement industry. Through this role, Richard has actively advocated for the advancement and recognition of self-directed IRAs and other retirement strategies.

Richard Desich, Jr. is also an accomplished real estate investor, leveraging his knowledge and experience to navigate the industry. He has traveled extensively across the country, educating investors about the various benefits associated with self-directed IRAs and offering insights into retirement planning strategies. His passion for sharing knowledge has led him to co-author numerous articles, books, and educational materials on retirement planning.

Academically, Richard is a graduate of Culver Military Academy and The Ohio State University. His educational background has equipped him with a strong foundation to excel in the financial and retirement planning industry.

Richard also generously volunteers his time as a member of the Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County in Ohio, demonstrating his commitment to youth development and community engagement.

Mr. Richard A. Desich Jr. : Co-Founder and Director of Equity Trust Company

Equity Trust Company Products: Bullion Coins, Bars, And Rare CoinsAll products offered by Equity Trust Company

Real Estate:

Investing in real estate can be approached through various procedures, offering different avenues for investors.

One option is to invest in real estate-related stocks, which can include publicly traded companies that engage in real estate development, management, or investment.

Additionally, there are real estate investment trusts (REITs), which allow investors to buy shares of a company that owns and operates income-generating real estate properties. These stocks can be held within a retirement account, providing potential tax advantages.

For those with larger investment capital, direct real estate ownership is an option. This can involve purchasing properties such as residential homes, commercial buildings, or land.

Real estate can be a valuable asset class for generating rental income and potential appreciation over time. Holding real estate within a retirement account, such as a self-directed IRA, allows investors to enjoy the tax advantages of the account while participating in the real estate market.

Private Equity Investments:

Private equity investments involve investing in privately held companies or assets that are not publicly traded on stock exchanges. However, when it comes to IRAs, there are limitations to investing in private equity.

For example, IRAs are generally not allowed to invest in S corporations or general partnerships due to IRS regulations. This restriction aims to maintain transparency and liquidity for IRA investments.

However, certain alternative investment options, such as private equity funds structured in compliance with IRA regulations, may still provide opportunities for individuals to participate in this asset class.

Types of Investment options by Equity Trust Company

Precious Metals:

Investing in precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, or palladium, is another avenue for diversification.

Precious metals are known for their rarity, and their value is influenced by factors such as scarcity, industrial demand, and their use as a store of wealth.

To include precious metals in a retirement account, they must meet specific requirements, such as minimum fineness standards. These standards ensure that the metals meet the necessary purity levels to be considered suitable for retirement accounts.


Currency trading, also known as Forex trading, involves buying and selling different international currencies to potentially profit from fluctuations in exchange rates.

Forex trading is typically conducted in the global foreign exchange market, and investors engage in arbitrage opportunities to take advantage of price discrepancies between different currency markets.

While currency trading is not directly associated with real estate investing, it is a distinct investment strategy that some individuals may employ as part of their overall investment portfolio.

Beware of Gold IRA scams. Recently several scams have been charged by the authorities. Companies such as Regal Assets, Safeguard Metals and Red Rock Secured defrauded hundereds of retirees like you and me. I strongly suggest you learn how to identify gold IRA scams. You can request a free guide using the button below:
Investment Process

How to Invest in Equity Trust Company IRA?Step-by-step guide for investing in Equity Trust Company IRA

To invest in a precious metals IRA through Equity Trust Company, here are the general steps:

  1. Open a Self-Directed IRA

    Select an IRA company that handles opening precious metals IRA accounts and fill out an application. You can work with Equity Trust Company to recommend an IRA company and provide the necessary paperwork. However, I don’t recommend doing so.

  2. Fund Your IRA

    Once you have selected an IRA company, you can move your funds into your new IRA account. You can work with the IRA company representative to transfer or rollover funds into the new account.

  3. Select a Precious Metals Dealer

    One of the forms you need to fill out along the way is typically called a Buy Direction Letter. This is where you list the precious metals dealer you have selected, such as Equity Trust Company.

  4. Decide Which Precious Metals to Purchase

    You can choose to invest in gold, silver, platinum, or palladium for your IRA. There are some restrictions regarding fineness requirements and allowable coin types, so it’s essential to get guidance from Equity Trust Company in this area.

  5. Place Your Order

    Once the funds are available in your IRA account, you can call them to place your order for the desired precious metals.

IRA Services by Equity Trust Company

However, I don’t recommend opening an IRA with them. Why? Because there are plenty of better options available for you.

Opening a precious metals IRA is a major decision. That’s why I suggest checking out our top gold IRA providers list. You can find the best precious metals dealer in your state and choose accordingly.

Also, the list will help you understand what the industry’s best has to offer and what you might miss out on.

Learn About Gold IRAs

If you want to learn about how a gold IRA works, you can get a free guide below:


Equity Trust Company Fees and Charges: Do they overcharge?What are their fees? Do they have hidden fees?

Equity Institutional is a specialized provider focusing on alternative investments held within a range of IRAs, including traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and Flex IRAs. Their services extend to assisting clients with cost-effective 401(k) rollovers and offering custodial accounts, both qualified and non-qualified, to individuals and businesses.

Beyond their custodial offerings, Equity Institutional also delivers institutional services catering to registered investment advisors, banks, mutual fund companies, and other investment firms. This comprehensive suite of services supports the unique needs of various financial entities.

Equity Institutional follows a straightforward pricing structure, applying a flat-rate annual fee of $225. This inclusive fee covers the annual renewal fee and the storage fee for precious metals, streamlining the billing process and providing transparency for their clients.

Fees and Charges of Equity Trust Company

Equity Institutional stands out from many other custodians by maintaining a consistent annual renewal and storage fee, regardless of the account’s value. This approach differs from the sliding scale fees implemented by other custodians, where fees increase proportionally with the account’s fair market value.

It’s important to note, however, that aside from the storage and renewal/administration fees, custodians typically have additional charges. These may include fees for late payments, wire transfers, transactions, terminations, and more.

For a comprehensive overview of Equity Institutional’ s fee structure, including all applicable fees, I recommend referring to its full fee schedule, which can be found on its website.

It’s always prudent to review the complete fee schedule to understand the costs associated with specific services and transactions.

Companies like Augusta charge ZERO fees for up to 10 years and allow you to choose your own gold & silver. Equity Trust Company on the other hand provides fewer options.

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Equity Trust Company Reviews and Complaints: BBB, Trustpilot, SitejabberRead all the Equity Trust Company reviews & complaints

Better Business Bureau (BBB):

On Better Business Bureau website, the Equity Trust Company has an A rating. They are since 49 years in the industry. The business has 110 customer reviews on this website. Furthermore, the company has 3.9 stars out of 5 stars ratings on BBB. A total of 94 complaints have been filed or closed in the last 3 years. This business is not BBB accredited.

On the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website, “A rating” refers to a rating given to a business by the BBB based on its assessment of various factors related to the business’s operations and customer interactions. An “A rating” is typically considered a favorable rating and indicates that the business has demonstrated a high level of trustworthiness and ethical business practices according to the BBB’s evaluation criteria.

On the other hand, “non-accreditation” refers to the status of a business that has not sought accreditation from the BBB or has not met the accreditation requirements set by the BBB. Accreditation is a voluntary process where businesses can apply to become accredited by the BBB, indicating their commitment to adhere to the BBB’s Standards for Trust, which include transparency, honesty, responsiveness, and integrity.

It’s important to note that the BBB’s ratings and accreditation can provide insights into a business’s practices and reputation. They are not the sole measure of a company’s credibility. It is advisable to consider multiple sources of information, including customer reviews, industry certifications, and other independent assessments, to form a comprehensive understanding of a business’s reputation and reliability.

BBB Reviews

On TrustLink, Equity Trust Company has only 1 star out of 5-star rating based on only 2 customer reviews. Both of the reviews are negative, with customers criticizing the company’s customer service and slow shipping.

Trustlink Reviews


On Yelp, Equity Trust Company has again 1.5 stars out of 5-star ratings based on 233 customer reviews. The reviews are mostly negative. The customer criticized their services and products. There are also many complaints too regarding products and their shipping on this website.

Yelp Reviews


On Trustpilot, Equity Trust Company has a 3.4 out of 5-star rating based on 612 customer reviews. Most of the reviews are positive, with customers praising the company’s customer service, expertise, and quick shipping.

Based on the ratings received, the business is considered to be in an average state according to the Trustpilot online review platform. Trustpilot allows customers to share their feedback and rate businesses based on their individual experiences. The average rating on Trustpilot represents the numerical average of all the ratings and reviews that the business has received from customers.

Trustpilot employs a rating system ranging from 1 to 5 stars. With 1 being the lowest rating and 5 being the highest. Customers assign a rating and can provide a written review detailing their specific experience with the business.

To calculate the average rating on Trustpilot, the platform adds up all the ratings received by the business and divides the total by the number of ratings. This calculation yields an average score that reflects the overall satisfaction level of customers who have reviewed the business on Trustpilot. The average rating serves as a general indicator of the business’s quality based on customer reviews, allowing potential customers to gauge the overall reputation and customer satisfaction associated with the business.

Trustpilot Reviews

Google Reviews:

On Google, the company again has 3.9 stars out of 5-star ratings based on customer reviews. There are 691 customer reviews on Google, and mostly all of them are positive. Customers praised the company’s excellent customer service, professionalism, and expertise.

Google Reviews

Some Negative Customer Reviews:

#1. Rose R. expresses frustration, stating that it is difficult to work with the company. She mentions that the customer service provided by the company is somewhat lacking. Based on her experience, Rose does not recommend using this service unless it is absolutely necessary and suggests exploring alternative options if available.

Negative Review

#2. David B, like other one-star reviewers, expresses frustration with his experience. He mentions difficulties in retrieving his money, encountering a constant runaround, and feeling that the company is not prioritizing his case due to being busy. According to his review, he has been dealing with this situation for approximately 2.5 to 3 months and perceives the company as untrustworthy.

Negative Review

#3. Michael Hough reports that he is still waiting for Equity Trust Company to issue an insurance check for an asset, and it has been three weeks since the request was made. He expresses dissatisfaction with the fact that he had to use his personal funds, which is not ideal. According to Michael, the company has not made any efforts to resolve the issue, causing frustration not only for him but also for his contact at the company. He advises against dealing with Equity Trust Company based on his negative experience.

Negative Review

Some Positive Customer Reviews:

#1. Oliver Hall shares his positive experience of seeking assistance with rolling over funds from another custodian. He explains that he had been struggling to complete the rollover for two weeks with the previous custodian. However, once he connected with Ericka from Equity Trust Company, he received excellent customer service. Ericka’s knowledge and expertise in this field were instrumental in successfully completing the transaction.

Positive Review

#2. Michael S. shares his positive interactions with Equity Trust, emphasizing the consistently excellent customer service he has received. Whenever he has called or required paperwork, the employees have made him feel like a top priority. He describes their service as friendly, knowledgeable, courteous, and professional. Michael expresses complete satisfaction, being highly pleased with his experiences with Equity Trust.

Positive Review

#3. Patricia D commends the company for their prompt responsiveness to her every need. She acknowledges that they have not only assisted her in managing her investments but have also taken the time to educate her. Patricia feels that the company genuinely cares about her and her financial well-being.

Positive Review

#4. Jeremy B expresses satisfaction with Equity Trust, highlighting the wide range of investment options available for both traditional and alternative investments. They have been a client for 11 years and have consistently had positive experiences, without encountering any negative incidents.

Positive Review

#5. Peggy Ann expresses her positive experience with Equity Trust, noting that they have always been very helpful and responsive in addressing her inquiries. She highlights that she has never encountered any issues while working with the company, particularly when coordinating with her realtor and title company.

Positive Review

Is Equity Trust Company Legit? Should You Invest With Them?Is Equity Trust Company a scam or legit? Are they worth it?

No, I don’t think you should invest with them directly.


  • Large pool of investment options
  • Over 50 years of experience


  • Not a BBB-accredited business
  • High annual IRA fees
  • Lack of personalized services
  • No focus on client education

That’s primarily because I believe you can get more personalization with a dedicated gold IRA provider.

Equity Trust Company is a well-established and legitimate company in the financial services industry. They have been operating since 1974 and are one of the top providers of 401(k)s and self-directed IRAs in the United States.

However, whether you should invest with them depends on your specific investment goals, risk tolerance, and individual circumstances.

It is advisable to conduct thorough research, seek professional advice, and carefully consider their services, fees, and investment options before making any investment decisions.

Additionally, comparing and evaluating other reputable financial institutions can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your investment objectives.

Each state has its own regulations and rules, so we’ve sorted and found the best Gold IRA company for each state.

Find the best Gold IRA company in your state