Pensco Trust Company IRA Review

PENSCO Trust Company IRA Table
PENSCO Trust Company IRA Table - by, April 1, 2011
3.5/ 5stars
PENSCO Trust Company IRA Table
  • Editor Rating
  • Good
Review Summary :

PENSCO Trust Company has been making investors money since 1995. The company offers live support and all kinds of investing options. Learn more about what this leadership-heavy, customer-friendly IRA provider has to offer.

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  • Experienced management and executive team
  • Great job dealing with customers and reviews
  • Live chat available
  • Large variety of alternative investing options


  • Complicated fee schedule
  • More complaints on Better Business Bureau than competitors
  • No mention of digital currency options
Quick Facts about PENSCO Trust Company IRA
Year Founded:1989
Location:San Francisco, California
Annual Fees:Starting at $100 per year.
Offers 401(k)?:Yes
Offers Roth IRA?:Yes.
Crypto Offered?:Yes
Reviewed By:Jack Choros
Published On:April 8, 2020
Last Modified:June 1, 2020
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PENSCO Trust Company has been in business since 1995, and over that time has established a solid reputation. The executive team is rich with experience and a variety of backgrounds including leadership that has proven to excel at other major investing companies. In fact, company leadership is one of PENSCO Trust Company’s strongest points when compared to other IRA providers.

While the company accepts mail in Colorado as it relates to your account opening documentation, the head office is actually in San Francisco. That should mean anything other than the fact that many other IRA providers are registered in states like Delaware or South Dakota, where investing tax and business laws are more favourable.

Still the fact that PENSCO Trust Company is located in California doesn’t hold the company back as far as what it has to offer investors. The customer service is solid, the customer reviews back that up and ultimately while the fee structure is a bit complicated, it is fair and still falls in line with other IRA providers.

Take a look at this in depth review and decide of PENSCO Trust Company is right for you. If not there may be a variety of other providers that fit your needs better! It’s time to decide for yourself!

The Executive and Management Team at PENSCO Trust Company

Richard Immesberger, President, PENSCO Trust Company

Richard Immesberger is the President of PENSCO Trust Company.

Richard Immesberger, President, PENSCO Trust Company

He is responsible for executing the company’s growth strategy and he was previously the National Head of Trust and Estate services at the Bank of Montréal. He has 30 years of experience in financial services including holding senior roles at investing firms like UBS and WSFS Bank. Immesberger leads seven other members of the executive team along with five members of the company’s Board of Directors.

Jennifer Tsang, Chief Financial Officer, PENSCO Trust Company

Jennifer Tsang, Chief Financial Officer, PENSCO Trust Company

Working alongside Immesberger is Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Tsang. She’s held senior roles at Topcoder and Appiro, while holding finance jobs with Visa and BlackRock.

David Foxhoven is the Chief Operating Officer. He takes care of the company’s client experience by managing their processes from a 5000 foot view. Foxhoven’s held roles at other companies in technology and also acted as an Executive Vice President.

Eric Rapp, Chief Technology Officer, PENSCO Trust Company

Eric Rapp, Chief Technology Officer, PENSCO Trust Company

Foxhoven is joined by Chief Technology Officer Eric Rapp. Prior to joining PENSCO, he’s held senior roles at Fiserve, Compuware and Lincoln Trust.

Amy Wong, Chief of Staff, PENSCO Trust Company

Amy Wong rounds out the company’s C-Level executive team. Wong is Chief of Staff at PENSCO. She is formerly the Vice President of Operations at Bank of America.

Without question, of all our IRA reviews, PENSCO boasts one of the most well-rounded executive teams out there today. Keep reading this review to find out how the company’s products and services are organized by these individuals and whether it actually stacks up against other IRA providers.

Amy Wong, Chief of Staff, PENSCO Trust Company


PENSCO Trust Company Investment Opportunities

PENSCO Trust Company has quite the smorgasbord of investing opportunities available for those that want to be self-directed. Their options include many of the account types and alternative assets that people value most including:

  • Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs
  • SEPs and SIMPLE IRAs
  • 401(k) plans
  • Health spending accounts
  • Cloverdell Education Savings Plans and more.

As with any IRA account, the above account types are really just placeholders intended to serve a specific tax benefit or purpose. A Roth IRA means the investors willing to take no write-offs during contributing years and will pay no taxes upon withdrawal. SEPs and SIMPLE IRAs are for businesses that want to support employees and benefit from some write-offs and 401(k) plans are for corporations larger than 100 people.

All of these placeholders host investments. The investments themselves are would earn the investor money, not the account type. Choosing the right account type can only save you on taxes.

As far as those investment options are concerned, PENSCO Trust Company offers many of the same types of investments competitors do, including:

  • Real Estate
  • Tax Liens and Deeds
  • Promissory notes and mortgages
  • Precious metals
  • Private equity and more…

Most self-directed IRA companies will talk to about other alternative assets that may not be listed on their website, but that they might be able to act as a custodian for. Usually all it takes is a simple phone call to inquire about the possibilities. No matter which IRA provider you choose to work with, feel free to make those phone calls to multiple providers and see what they have to offer.

The Fee Schedule at PENSCO Trust Company

PENSCO approaches its fee schedule a bit differently from other IRA providers. In fact we reviewed 20 or so companies so far and nobody lists their fee structure the way PENSCO Trust Company does. The company groups it’s pricing into categories related to the type of service being requested, not the account values are the number of assets acquired. There are four different categories that divide the fees PENSCO charges. Here they are:

  • One-time account establishment.
  • Quarterly account administration and maintenance.
  • Account transactions.
  • Account closures and transfers out.

One-time Account Establishment

This category of fees is pretty self-explanatory. It’s all about the fees you pay when you first open your account. It includes receiving funds, communicating with the previous custodian and conducting any other necessary follow-up required to open your new account.

Quarterly Account Administration and Maintenance

PENSCO Trust Company points out that in order to maintain alternative assets in an IRA account, those assets must be held by an authorized custodian according to IRS Publication 590. However, they don’t say what those fees are.

Account Transactions

These fees are based on the nature of investments that investors choose from. This fee relates to outgoing checks, wire transfers, or cashier’s checks. Basically any other type of documentation related to turning assets and cash or moving from one asset to another. Any buy and sell transaction.

Account Closures and Transfers Out

Closing an account or transferring out of one is not as easy with a self-directed IRA as it is with a bank account. PENSCO Trust Company knows this so the charge fees for it.

The above descriptions of these categories might seem fairly bare-bones, but after some digging, we did manage to find the actual fee schedule.

All fees are based on a percentage plus total account value. It’s a combination of what most other IRA companies provide. Unfortunately there is no way to split fees and pay either just commission or just based on account value. It’s always a combination of both.

Anybody with less than $80,000 in their account pays a fee of $100 per quarter. That’s actually really reasonable. Other IRA providers sometimes charge up to $300 for a quarter. Beyond an $80,000 account value, the fees are based on total account values plus a percentage. The percentage goes down as the account value goes up. The highest valued clients always get the best deals no matter which self-directed IRA provider you choose, so that makes logical sense.

Feel free to dig deeper into the fee schedule to learn more. Below is a brief chart summarizing everything:

Account ValuesAccount Fees
$80,000-$99,999$50+0.625% of account value
$100,000-$499,999$62.50 +0.5% of account value
$500,000-$999,999$150+0.375% of account value
$1,000,000$275+.025% of account value

Customer Support at PENSCO Trust Company

PENSCO Trust Company’s customer service team can be reached at 1-800-962-4238. The company does streamlines customer service by providing alternate phone numbers for specific account related tasks. That’s good because it ultimately means investors spend less time on the phone and more time dealing with the correct department. Customers also have the option to send documents related to account openings via direct mail to their office in Denver, Colorado. They can also email in questions, but unfortunately there is no live chat support available at PENSCO Trust Company.

We really like that here at Sophisticated Investor, and many other IRA companies do offer a live support option.

Customer Reviews for PENSCO Trust Company

PENSCO Trust Company has been registered with the Better Business Bureau since 1995. That’s 25 years! Over that long of a time span, having to deal with customer complaints can be expected. PENSCO Trust Company does have its share of complaints on its BBB profile. All things considered, having nine complaints registered on the Better Business Bureau website is not that bad and most of them have been dealt with using refunds or fee waivers.

Four of those complaints have to do with billing and collections and the other five have to do with details surrounding products and services. Don’t let that deter you from doing your investing with PENSCO Trust Company however. The BBB still gives the company an A+ rating over 25 years of service.

PENSCO Trust Company FAQs

Some IRA providers have their own frequently asked questions section, others don’t luckily, PENSCO Trust Company does. Here are some of the most important questions you probably want to be answered.

PENSCO Trust Company is like many other IRA providers. They know that clients are looking for the most alternative and unique investment opportunities possible for their retirement plan. That’s the main reason for opening a self-directed IRA in the first place. They don’t specifically promote the ability to invest in digital assets like Bitcoin. However, most of the regular self-directed IRA options that other companies offer are available with PENSCO Trust Company including real estate, securities, mortgages and promissory notes, private equity deals and more. Just like any other IRA company is bound to the rules of the IRS, so is PENSCO Trust Company.

PENSCO Trust Company will charge you a fee for withdrawing and closing out an account, as we’ve established in the fee schedule section of this review. That said checks can be cashed in any bank or cash advance business. Just keep in mind that cash advance businesses usually charge a commission fee.

Some IRA providers promote the fact that you can use your IRA like a checkbook if you register a limited liability corporation and your name. The IRS frowns upon this, so some providers promote it openly while others do not. Most companies will probably do it for you.

PENSCO does a good job of addressing customer concerns the way it has over the last 25 years. Yes they get complaints but for that long of a stretch, it makes sense that they would have to deal with something every once in a while. Kudos to them for that!

From a product offering standpoint, they can get investors into the most investments they might be interested in, though it doesn’t appear that they can help much with digital currencies. Still, the average self-directed IRA investor who once again into real estate or private equity deals can do so with PENSCO Trust Company.

The fee schedule is a bit of a mess. The fact they charge based on account value plus a percentage makes it a little bit cumbersome for clients to figure out how much they’re going to spend on their own. Such a complicated fee structure would be better presented with a calculator that explains everything to the customer online. But still, anyone looking to do the basic arithmetic will see that PENSCO Trust Company’s fees fall in line with other providers, though it seems for certain people it might cost them more to do business with PENSCO Trust Company.

At the end of the day it’s all about saving as much as you can for retirement, so while it wouldn’t be totally crazy to choose PENSCO Trust Company as your IRA provider without doing a ton of research, we still recommend taking a look at other providers and seeing what they have to offer. We can certainly rank PENSCO Trust Company as a viable option but we wouldn’t put it at the very top.

Whether or not it’s at the very top of your own personal list depends on your personal preferences and retirement goals.


See our Top IRA Reviews page for more company reviews and a comparison table of self-directed IRA providers.


PENSCO Trust Company IRA Table
PENSCO Trust Company IRA Table - by, April 1, 2011
3.5/ 5stars
PENSCO Trust Company IRA Table
  • Editor Rating
  • Good
Review Summary :

PENSCO Trust Company has been making investors money since 1995. The company offers live support and all kinds of investing options. Learn more about what this leadership-heavy, customer-friendly IRA provider has to offer.

Have you purchased products from PENSCO Trust Company IRA Table? Leave a review!

Leave your rating

Field is Required

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