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Sterling Trust Review

WARNING: Upon trying to go to the Sterling Trust website I received a “connection un-trusted” warning from my browser. If you’re looking for info on this company online, be careful of that.

That being said, Sterling Trust now goes by the name Equity Institutional and has a new website to match their new name.

In addition to that their mailing address has also changed.

So why did they change everything?

In 2009 Sterling Trust was acquired by the Equity Trust Company and became a division of it. That being said, there have been reports of shady dealings by Sterling Trust which some speculate have lead to their rebranding as Equity Institutional.

More on the controversy later, first let’s get into the services Equity Institutional offers.

Services Offered

First and foremost you must understand that Equity Institutional is not specifically a gold IRA company. Instead, it offers a wide range of investment options such as:

  • Hedge Funds
  • Managed Futures
  • Public Limited Partnerships or LLCs
  • Real Estate
  • Precious Metals

Just to name a few.

While that may sound great and all, there is one very important catch here. Let me quote their website directly for you:

“Equity Trust is an independent trust company and does not offer investment advice, nor does it offer or sponsor any proprietary investment products.  It only processes transactions at the instruction of its clients or their designated financial advisors.  Equity Trust offers a truly “open architect” approach to investment choices and does not offer, solicit, or endorse any investment products or strategies.”

In other words, while they offer plenty of investment options, you’re pretty much on your own when it comes to managing them.

If you don’t know much about these various types of investments, you may be out of luck when working with Equity Institutional.

Also, while they can function as a gold IRA custodian, that isn’t their primary business model and it doesn’t look like you’ll get much help managing your assets.

Scams, Cover-ups, and other Controversy

Okay, here’s the interesting part of this Sterling Trust review. To be honesty I was really blown away by the amount of complaints and accusations being leveled at Sterling Trust when I first started researching them.

Instead of boring you by trying to explain all of this myself, I’m going to let Sterling Trust/Equity Institutional customers (and others) speak for themselves.

Here is what Colt Ledger and Associates, a company hired to investigate Sterling Trust over alleged investment scams, had to say:

“It is alleged, by the alleged defrauded investors, that Sterling Trust and Equity Trust allowed shady companies to use their above reproach image and reputation earned as  a licensed custodial company, approved by the Federal Government after rigorous processes, to lure self-directed IRA owners into alleged investment scams.   Many of the alleged defrauded investors stated that the only reason for the investment was the presence of Sterling Trust or Equity Trust.  Further, it is alleged that, in the situation involving Equity Trust and Craig Orr, that Craig Orr actually endorsed the investment and the owner of the company, a known convicted felon.” – Colt Ledger and Associates Inc.

Here is a brief statement by someone who was apparently a customer of Sterling Trust/Equity Institutional:

“In Jan of 2013 Sterling Trust’s computers were hacked and their clients’ personal information was compromised. They did not bother to notify their clients until the end of April.

E-mails I sent about this have not been answered. My financial advisor has asked all of his clients to drop them because of this pathetic lack of customer service. They are now changing their name to Equity Trust Co. Stay away from them.” – Anonymous

Here is a customer service complaint from one of their customers:

“Sterling Trust is best described as a massive failure in communication.

Whether one is a client or an agent one should expect total disregard for the customer.” – SC

Here is a customer who claims to have has his life savings stolen by Sterling Trust/Equity Institutional:

“This company stole my life savings and claim they have no responsibility. DO NOT use them! Now, they send me threatening letters stating that if I don’t give them annual dues for my “non-existent” coin storage, they will give my money back and report it to the IRS as an early distribution. BRING IT ON FUCKERS! SEND ME A BOGUS CHECK!” – Kurt W.

This is just the tip of the iceberg really. I could go on and make a 15 page report filled with comments like these but I’m going to spare you and instead go over the various ratings for this company.

  • 2/5 –
  • 60/100 – Bright Scope
  • 1/5 – Superpages

As you can see, things aren’t looking so good for Sterling Trust/Equity Institutional.

Final Verdict

Like every company I review, I gave Sterling Trust/Equity Institutional a fair chance. Their website looks nice and they have a wide variety of investment options.

Unfortunately the sheer amount of negative reviews, complaints, and accusations leveled at this company really overshadowed all else.

On top of that, they don’t specialize in gold IRA management, despite the fact that they will function as a gold custodian. This is another major issue that makes them sub-par if you’re looking to start a gold IRA or rollover an existing IRA.

My final verdict for Sterling Trust/Equity Institutional is:

2/10

If you’re looking for a company with a proven track record and strong reputation to help you get set up with a gold IRA, Regal Assets is my top recommendation.

Regal Assets is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, has a 5 star rating with TrustLink, and has a AAA rating with the Business Consumer Alliance.

Regal Assets can help you:

-Buy IRS approved gold
-Set up a self-directed IRA
-Store the gold in a secure location

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