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The Equity Trust Alternative

Here at iPlanGroup, most of our new clients come to us by way of referral. Typically, they’ll share that we’ve helped a friend of theirs, or were recommended by a subject matter expert (or guru). Once in a while, a client will come to us by way of a referral through a RIA or Financial Advisor. When we ask these advisors where they referred clients prior to finding us, the answer is always the same – Equity Trust.

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In every industry, there’s an 800-pound gorilla who dwarfs their competition. In the world of self-directed investing, that 800-pound gorilla is Equity Trust. They’re the big kid in the sandbox and that’s ok. They’ve certainly done what it takes to earn their spot atop the pile.

So what’s wrong with Equity Trust? Absolutely nothing. I’m sure they have a lot of very happy customers. They wouldn’t be in business otherwise. This article isn’t about bashing Equity Trust. We don’t know or work with them. The information we receive comes in from clients making a change, or financial professionals sending referrals. Clients share their experiences with us, some have been favorable while others have expressed frustration.

The greatest frustration expressed to us by financial advisors is that they simply didn’t know alternatives existed. The fact is that while there aren’t a lot of companies like us who can help facilitate self-directed investments, we do exist.

Why, then, given this new insight, would financial planners and advisors choose not to diversify and refer clients to other self-directed management companies? The answer is simple – fear. Like any other major player in any other industry, Equity Trust is the biggest, and while clients may or may not have great experiences or fast turnaround, they’re a known entity and the “safe bet.â€

Financial advisors have worked extremely hard to forge and maintain relationships with their clients. They use their knowledge and expertise to invest in stocks and traditional investments which serve the needs and goals of these clients. So when a client requests a non-traditional investment like real estate or an LLC, of course their advisor wants to make the right referral. Making the wrong referral might mean upsetting their relationship and, worse, make them look bad.

Here at iPLanGroup, we understand that fear all too well. Competing against the big guys means having to work twice as hard to ensure we’re making the advisor who referred a client look like a hero. How do we do it?

  • We act as a resource to the client, holding their hand, answering questions, and helping them understand why and how to fill out each and every form. As a company started by investors for investors, we know what clients need and expect.
  • We offer lightning-fast turnaround, ensuring client funds are disbursed quickly and painlessly. Once they’ve made an investment decision, we know they want that money working, not sitting.
  • We’re a boutique firm, which means we can offer clients one-on-one interaction the larger firms can’t. We form relationships with our clients and grow to anticipate their needs ahead of them asking, which is why we boast a high client retention rate.

Whether it’s iPlanGroup or one of the other self-directed IRA companies out there, just remember that there are alternatives to the big players. You and your clients have choices. You have options. We’ve found that options are really at the heart of what most consumers want. Competition drives pricing and quality, and it’s in that spirit we embrace and love the Equity Trusts of the world. They’re forcing us to work harder, while at the same time remaining nimble and responsive to our clients’ needs.

We would encourage you to do your homework. Ask a lot of great questions and work with the self-directed investment company you feel is going to take care of you, and more importantly, take care of your clients!

If you’re a Financial Advisor looking for alternative self-directed investment options for your clients, contact us below and learn how we can help.

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