Self-directed IRA accounts

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by Marx, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Marx


    I have been researching different ways to trade futures with a self-directed IRA account and was considering going with Entrust or Millennium. They both charge annual fees ($250 and up), as well as numerous additonal fees for just about everything that you might ask them to do for you. At the same time, I was researching different brokers to decide where to open a margin account to trade futures. I saw that thinkorswim (TOS) was highly rated on Elite Trader and also discovered that they had been acquired by TD Ameritrade. I tried out the TOS platform and liked it, so I finally decided to go with TOS for the margin account and Millennium for the custodian of a self-directed IRA. When I contacted TOS to open the margin account, they informed me that I could open a self-directed IRA directly through them (Penson is the custodian) with absolutely no fees. They do require that you have at least 3 years of experience trading futures (although it seems as if they just take your word for this), and the margin requirements are about 25% higher, but these were not issues for me. TOS opened the account and I got the funds through an ACAT tranfer from my Schwab IRA in about a week.
  2. bowler


    I believe Interactive brokers also allow you to trade futures in IRA account, though not sure about margin requirements.
  3. Just a matter of semantics, the minimum deposit required to trade a futures contract is called a "Performance Bond", not a margin requirement.
  4. If you simply move your IRA to IB, they will only let you trade instruments denominated in USD, short selling of stocks is prohibited, etc. etc. Your IRA will not formally be a 'self-directed' IRA. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but when you set up as a proper 'self-directed' IRA, you can even buy a home or pieces of art through your IRA. You gain much more flexibility.
  5. I have both a normal account and IRA at IB. I can do almost everything in the IRA as the normal one except short stock and naked call selling.

    I don't recall jumping through any hoops to get this set up.
  6. Not true, I trade Euro and GBP futures in my IRA at IB. You just need to have the currency in your account before you open the trades (just enter a forex trade to buy the currency you need). You cannot short sell stocks (futures are OK) and you cannot use margin, there is NO way you are getting around those restrictions (legally anyway). Although you can of course buy inverse ETFs.

    Equity Trust is also a cheaper alternative to the other self-directed IRA account custodians.
  7. You're correct it was just like opening a regular account. However I do not think IB will handle a roth ira conversion, so I'm still figuring out how I'll do that in 2010.....
  8. be careful, ensure HOW MUCH money entrust will let you move. One of these trusts before held back a sizable amount of your funds, Millennium is only $500 I think
  9. You can buy investment real estate in a self-directed IRA, but not your own home or even a vacation home. You can also buy gold bullion, but you have to have someone else store it. I cannot remember the rules for art work, but I don't think you can keep the art in your home if you buy it with your IRA.

    I also have a self-directed IRA through Equity Trust Corporation (ETC). I have not been with them very long, but things have gone smoothly so far. John Carter from Trade The Markets also uses ETC.

    If you are going to open a self-directed IRA to trade futures, make sure that your broker works with the company you are going to open the IRA with. Some futures brokers do it themselves, like IB.
  10. Equity Trust does this. They are encouraging their clients to convert to a Roth in 2010. Again, make sure that your broker will work with Equity Trust if you go with them.
    #10     Dec 13, 2009