Statement from Equity Trust Company
(WESTLAKE, OH) June 16, 2015 -- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has advised Equity Trust Company that it plans to file a civil administrative proceeding against it today. The SEC is in substance alleging that Equity Trust, acting in its role as a self-directed IRA custodian, negligently assisted two investment sponsors to sell fraudulent investments more than four years ago. Equity Trust denies the SEC's allegations and will vigorously defend itself. Equity Trust is an industry leader in fighting fraud, and stopped permitting its self-directed IRA clients to make investments with these sponsors more than two years before the SEC brought actions against them.
Over the years, the SEC has published investor alerts stating that self-directed IRA custodians do "not evaluate the quality or legitimacy of an investment and its promoters," and that custodians are "responsible only for holding and administering the assets." Numerous courts and other regulators have agreed with this SEC guidance. Consistent with SEC guidance, Equity Trust and other custodians state the same thing in their customer contracts and in each direction of investment form its customers sign. Equity Trust does not endorse any investment or investment sponsor.
About Equity Trust
Equity Trust Company has been at the forefront of the self-directed retirement plan industry since 1974. The company specializes in the custody of alternative assets in self-directed IRAs, Coverdell Education Accounts, Health Savings Accounts and qualified business retirement plans.