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Who We Are

Equity Trust empowers individual investors and financial professionals by removing the barriers to investment freedom.

Industry-Leading Custodian

What We Do For You

As an IRS approved custodian, we fulfill the custodial and administrative duties required for each type of investment account you hold.

With an Equity Trust account you have the opportunity to invest in alternative assets such as real estate, precious metals, private equity, and more. Additionally, you can invest in traditional assets such as stocks and mutual funds – all through a single custodian.

As a directed custodian, Equity Trust does not provide tax, legal or investment advice, nor do we offer or sponsor any proprietary investment products.

Trusted Custodial Experience

As an industry-leading custodian of alternative assets in tax-advantaged accounts, our 45-year* track record of excellence is unmatched in the industry.

Equity Trust streamlines the investment experience by offering optimized solutions, processes, and service.

Over 200,000 Properties Bought, Sold, and Funded
#1 Custodian for Real Estate Investors

Our History

1974

Richard Desich founds a brokerage company, the business that will ultimately become Equity Trust Company

1983

The predecessor business is approved as a non-bank directed custodian for retirement by the IRS

1984

The first self-directed IRA real estate transaction is completed

2003

Equity Trust Company is formed and obtains its Trust charter

2009

Equity Trust Company acquires accounts from Texas-based Sterling Trust, the beginning of what is now known as Equity Institutional

2011

Equity Advisor Solutions is formed to serve the financial services industry

2015

Equity Trust Company acquires accounts from Delaware-based Principal Trust Company and Utah-based American Pension Services

2018

Equity Trust Company launches industry-leading online account management system myEQUITY. Innovative Digital Asset Platform launches, allowing Equity Trust clients to invest in cryptocurrency using their IRAs

Equity Trust Company
Leadership

Executive Leadership

Richard Desich

Founder and Chairman of the Board

Richard Desich has been involved in the securities industry for over 40 years. He is nationally recognized as a preeminent authority on commercial and residential real estate, oil and gas investing, as well as non-traditional investing in IRAs and qualified plans. Mr. Desich is the author of the informative book, “Self-Directed IRAs: Building Retirement Wealth through Alternative Investing.” He has published numerous articles regarding the use of self-directed IRAs to invest in real estate, notes, and mortgages, and he has spoken to thousands of investors throughout the country on these topics. Mr. Desich has volunteered his time on the board of several other organizations, including more than 30 years on the Board of Trustees at Lorain County Community College in Ohio.

Jeffrey Desich

Executive Vice Chair

Jeffrey Desich has worked in the financial services industry his entire career. Since joining Equity Trust Company, he has helped guide the firm through a period of rapid change – incorporating multiple acquisitions as well as organic growth. During his tenure, he has served as Director of Operations and Clients Services, Vice President of Operations and Client Services, President of Equity Administrative Services, and most recently CEO of Equity Trust Company. Additionally, he serves as a director for a number of private companies. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance and marketing. Mr. Desich also volunteers as a member of the Board of Trustees at Lorain County Community College

Richard A. Desich, Jr

Co-Founder, Director

Richard Desich has served as Chief Information Officer, Director of Compliance/Risk Mitigation and Director of Marketing of Equity Trust. He is a past President of the Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA), the trade organization representing the self-directed retirement industry. Mr. Desich is also an active real estate investor and has traveled across the country educating investors on the advantages of self-directed IRAs and other retirement strategies. He has co-authored numerous articles, books and educational materials on the topic of retirement planning. He is a graduate of Culver Military Academy and The Ohio State University. Mr. Desich also volunteers as a member of the Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lorain County in Ohio.

George Sullivan

Chief Executive Officer

George Sullivan brings more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. He was formerly the Executive Vice President, Global Head of State Street Corporation’s Alternative Investment Solutions group, where he was a member of the firm’s management committee –the senior strategy and policy-making body of the bank. In this role, Mr. Sullivan oversaw strategic direction, global sales, client relationship management, product structuring, and operations of State Street’s hedge, private equity, and real estate fund administration businesses worldwide. Mr. Sullivan sits on the Board of Directors at the MetroHealth Foundation as well as the American Heart Association of Greater Cleveland and is Chair of the American Heart Association’s 2021 Greater Cleveland and Lorain Heart Walks. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in economics from Boston College in 1982.

Mark Furmanek

Chief Operating Officer

Mark Furmanek is responsible for driving the strategy to create faster, cost-effective operations that deliver an exceptional client and associate experience. Most recently, Mark served as chief operations and technology officer with Dillon Gage, where he planned and executed multiple software conversions. Before that, he worked as executive vice president and chief operating officer with New Direction IRA, where he focused on elevating the client and associate experience. During his tenure, Mark designed and developed the company’s online self-service portal and implemented software conversions and process improvements that streamlined client onboarding and transactional execution which led to significant growth. Mark began his career as a commodity broker at DEVO Capital Management before serving as a branch manager with Scottrade. He graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Beth Jerdonek

Chief Legal Officer, Chief Administrative Officer

Beth Jerdonek, who joined Equity Trust Company in 2013, serves as the Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel to the trust company and its affiliate businesses, counseling on risk items across all business lines and support functions. She is responsible for oversight and implementation of the company’s compliance program. Previously, Ms. Jerdonek held roles as Director and Counsel for UBS Financial Services Inc., as well as Associate and Partner at Ulmer Berne LLP. She earned her undergraduate degree at Baldwin Wallace University and her law degree at Cleveland Marshall College of Law.

Matthew Gardner

Chief Financial Officer

As CFO, Matt Gardner collaborates with the business’ leaders to drive current and future financial results, providing strategic insights to improve business profitability and performance. Prior to joining Equity Trust, Mr. Gardner spent the last 23 years of his career at Key Bank, with roles of increasing responsibility in Finance, Corporate Treasury, and Investor Relations. His most recent role was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Key’s Corporate Bank, a full-service corporate and investment bank focused principally on serving the needs of middle market clients in seven industry sectors. He is a graduate of Miami University, where he earned both a Bachelor and Master of Arts in Economics.

Renee Albert

Chief Product and Strategy Officer

As CPSO, Renee leads the integrated effort to define Equity Trust’s strategic direction, cross-organizational business decisions, future growth opportunities, and product strategy. Renee is highly engaged in Equity’s strategic client-centricity efforts, working closely with business leaders to ensure enterprise-wide alignment on strategic investments, success measures, and supporting efforts to digitally transform the business. Renee joined Equity Trust in 2014 to lead the Innovation and Strategy team and has held several roles focused around strategy and client experience (VP, Client Analytics & Product Management, and SVP, Strategy and Product Management, and Chief Product & Strategy Officer). Prior to joining Equity Trust, Ms. Albert held several leadership roles in product management, innovation, and strategy at companies including STERIS, Ridge Tool Company (RIDGID), and TTI (Dirt Devil). She received her undergraduate degree from Cleveland State University and her MBA from Baldwin-Wallace.

Frank Flanagan

Chief Information Officer

Bringing over 20 years of IT leadership experience from OfficeMax and JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores, Frank Flanagan leads the company’s information technology organization into the next phase of product innovation and company growth. His most recent role was Director, Enterprise Systems for Flynn Restaurant Group. Mr. Flanagan is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration specializing in Management Information Systems.

Casey Roberts

Chief Business Development Officer

Casey L. Roberts is Equity Trust’s Chief Business Development Officer. In this capacity, he is responsible for leading the organization’s sales and marketing efforts. He has over 25 years of financial services experience and has been responsible for leading sales organizations and developing integrated marketing programs designed to foster referral generation within retail investment services organizations such as BankBoston, Santander and Citizens Bank. Casey earned his B.A from Boston College in 1986.

Irene Garsky

Vice President, Human Resources

Irene Garsky serves as the Senior Director, Human Resources, overseeing the administration, coordination, and evaluation of HR functions including directing staff in the areas of compensation, benefits administration, wellness programming, policy/procedure development, employee relations, leave management, workers’ compensation, and compliance to regulatory concerns. Prior to joining Equity Trust Company in 2016, Ms. Garsky held HR leadership and labor relations roles with manufacturing and environmental services firms in Northeast Ohio. She holds SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications, and received her Masters of Labor Relations and Human Resources (MLRHR) degree from Cleveland State University.

Our Core Values

Our core values are our foundation and the guiding principles we embody to support our mission.

To better serve our clients in a universal way, we will…

BE BOLD & CREATIVE

Innovate and anticipate change with agility

BE CURIOUS

Inquire to know more and never stop learning

BE INVESTED

Provide value beyond the transaction and own the solution

BE COLLABORATIVE

Ignite opportunity through communication and maintain an open mind

BECOME THE EXPERT

Strive to be better tomorrow than we are today

BE BOLD & CREATIVE

Innovate and anticipate change with agility

BE CURIOUS

Inquire to know more and never stop learning

BE INVESTED

Provide value beyond the transaction and own the solution

BE COLLABORATIVE

Ignite opportunity through communication and maintain an open mind

BECOME THE EXPERT

Strive to be better tomorrow than we are today

Diversity & Inclusion Statement

Equity Trust Company and its affiliates understand the importance of embracing diversity and inclusion to enrich the culture of our workplace. We strive to leverage the benefits of a diverse work environment by understanding and respecting the differences among all associates; thus, optimizing creativity, and allowing our workforce to thrive from one another’s unique perspectives.

We recognize that diversity is not only a reality of our global economy, it is a distinct advantage that we value and welcome. Understanding and respecting the experiences and realities of all associates allows us to broaden our perspectives of our colleagues, our clients, and ourselves. It is our commitment to provide exceptional customer service to our diverse client base by nurturing and retaining a workforce that reflects the world in which we live.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Equity Trust

 

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