FAQ / Frequently Asked Questions

Who is First Trust Retirement?
First Trust Retirement is the premier IRA custodian choice of alternative investment product sponsors. First Trust Retirement combines the transfer agency servicing solutions of DST Systems Inc., with an IRA custodial offering. With First Trust Retirement clients now have the flexibility to select an alternative investment for their self-directed IRAs that is not typically available through mutual fund and brokerage offered IRAs.


DST Systems, Inc., the leading qualified transfer agent in the alternative investment space, has been chosen as our agent to service this solution. With First Trust Retirement custodial services, advisors can spend less time, less effort, and less cost servicing alternative investments for their client’s IRAs.

What account types does First Trust Retirement currently offer?
  • Traditional IRAs
  • Roth IRAs
  • Simplified Employee Pension Plans – SEP’s
Why choose First Trust Retirement?

1. First Trust Retirement offers the ability to select alternative investment products, including non-traded REITs and BDCs, within an IRA that costs a fraction of current alternative IRA product offerings.

2. With First Trust Retirement, your clients now have the flexibility to select an alternative investment for their self-directed IRAs that is not commonly available through mutual fund and brokerage offered IRAs.

What is the benefit of using First Trust Retirement?
Less Time
  • Three times faster account setup for timely transaction settlement and commission payments
  • Streamlined transfer agency services provided by our agent, DST Systems, Inc.
Less Effort
  • Advisors have a single point of contact for product and retirement knowledge support
  • Reduced shareowner confusion and wasteful mailing redundancy
Less Cost
  • IRA annual custodial fee starting as low as $25, compared to over $100 with other custodians
  • Average shareowner savings of $600 (est.) over the life of a single REIT investment
How is your annual maintenance fee different?
  • Highly competitive annual IRA custodial account fee starting as low as $25.
  • The Custodian fee applies to accounts held within an FTR Traditional, Roth, or SEP IRA and is assessed per Social Security number, per plan type in each Product Sponsor. The Custodian Fee may be paid by you directly; or the custodian has the option to systematically deduct the fee from monthly distributions paid into the shareholder’s IRA. Annual fees will be charged for any calendar year the IRA is open. This fee is not prorated for periods of less than one year.
  • The FTR Custodian fee for existing account holders will be due the first quarter of each year. If a new account that is applicable to our Custodian fee is opened after the first quarter of the year, that account’s fee will be collected in the last quarter for that year only. The following year it will be treated as an existing account and will be collected in the first quarter with the rest of our existing account population.
What are the steps to open an IRA account using First Trust Retirement (FTR) as custodian?

Please have your client complete the IRA Application based on your client’s preference:


1. If your client prefers to fund the IRA by making a current year or prior year contribution:

  • Complete the IRA Application and the appropriate fund subscription document.
  • Mail the paperwork to us at the address listed at the top of the IRA Application.


2. If your client prefers to fund the IRA by rolling over or transferring funds from another IRA or corporate retirement plan:

  • Please complete the IRA Application along with the Transfer/Rollover Request Form and the fund subscription document.
  • Mail the paperwork to us at the address listed at the top of the IRA Application.

How can I make additional purchases of fund shares?
If the IRA account is already established and you wish to make an additional purchase into the fund:
  • Complete the Additional Investment Instructions Form along with the fund subscription document
  • Mail the paperwork to us at the address listed at the top of the Additional Investment Instructions Form.
How can I sell fund shares and make withdrawals?
Each alternative investment has specific rules around liquidations and distributions, please review the terms and conditions outlined within the prospectus for details. Once the specific alternative investment documents are completed, please mail the completed forms, along with the Withdrawal Request form, to the address at the top of the Withdrawal Request form.
What type of communication will I receive?
You will receive periodic account statements as well as trade confirmations. You may also receive tax forms from First Trust Retirement should you deposit monies into the IRA or withdraw funds from the IRA. You may also receive a required minimum distribution notice should you meet certain criteria.
Is there a cash account associated with the IRA?
Yes, if your client wishes to receive their monthly distribution in cash, the proceeds will be deposited into a Morrill & Janes Bank & Trust NOW Account established in your client’s name. The interest rate and annual percentage yield is subject to change at any time. Interest is compounded and credited at the beginning of each calendar month (based on account activity from the previous month). Each investor’s deposit in this cash account is insured up to applicable FDIC limits.
How does a shareholder contact First Trust Retirement?
You or your clients may contact us directly from 9 a.m. 5 p.m. CST Monday thru Friday at the following:
  • Customer Service:
    1-855-FTRETIRE (1-855-387-3847)
  • Office Hours:
    Monday thru Friday: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. (CST)
  • Website:
Note: All IRA mail is sent to the existing client PO Box and is handled in the same manner as non-IRA or custodial mail is today.
Can I put any investment for myself or my clients into my First Trust Retirement IRA? OR
I don’t see my alternative investment product listed as an option on your website, what can I do?
You have many options for alternative investments available within the First Trust Retirement IRA offering. The alternative investment product sponsors currently available are listed on the FTR Toolkit page of this site. The alternative investment products available within the IRA are being added to frequently. If you don’t find your alternative investment election listed, please call First Trust Retirement at 1-855-FTRETIRE (1-855-387-3847) or contact the alternative investment product sponsor directly and request First Trust Retirement be added to their available preferred custodian options.
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