Frequently Asked Questions

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Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

What types of IRAs does offer?

offers U.S. customers to choose from a Traditional, Rollover, Roth, SEP, SIMPLE or Educational IRA, with the ability to trade options, stocks, bonds and mutual funds.
Open an Account


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How do I set up an IRA with ?

To open an IRA. Visit here or click on the "Open Another Account" link at the upper right of your account. The "New Account Application" screen will appear. Under "What Kind of Account", click on the appropriate account entity type.

  • The system will prompt you through the steps to create your account. (Select the specific type of IRA that you want to create)
  • Upon completion, you will be prompted to submit your documents electronically (and if applicable) or to print the forms. A SEP IRA requires form 5305-SEP, a Coverdell IRA requires form 5305-E, and a SIMPLE IRA requires form 5305-SIMPLE Articles I through VII.
  • If you have to print the forms or you choose to print the forms, please be sure to sign the IRA Account Application on the "X CUSTOMER SIGNATURE" line, and sign the IRA Designation of Beneficiary form on the "IRA HOLDER" line.
  • After printing the application, you may fax the application and all required documents to us at 312-629-5256 to expedite your application.
Please feel free to contact us at 888-280-8020 should you have any other questions regarding this process or if you need further assistance.
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What is a Traditional IRA?

A Traditional IRA is an Individual Retirement Account in which the contributions are tax-deductible if eligibility requirements are met. Please consult with your tax advisor as your income, filing status, and other retirement plans may affect your eligibility. Earnings within a Traditional IRA are tax-deferred until withdrawals begin.

Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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Who is eligible for a Traditional IRA?

Anyone received taxable compensation during the tax year. (Example: If filing jointly, their spouse.)

Refer to IRS Pub 590-A for more information at http://www.irs.gov/
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When can you withdraw from a Traditional IRA?

You may withdraw funds at any time, however; if you are under the age 59 ½ a 10% early withdrawal penalty may apply for non-qualified distributions. Eligible distributions may be taxed at the current tax rate. Please consult with your tax advisor prior to taking a distribution.

Refer to IRS Pub 590 for more information at http://www.irs.gov/
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What are the key advantages of a Traditional IRA?
  • Contributions may be tax-deductible if eligibility requirements are met. Please consult with your tax advisor as your income, filing status, and other retirement plans may affect your eligibility.
  • Within your IRA, you are able to trade stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds and options. To learn about trading futures in an IRA, click here.
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How do I make a regular IRA contribution to my Traditional or Roth IRA?

There are several options available to deposit your yearly contribution each of which is detailed below.

  • ACH Deposit - Deposit via ACH with an established ACH Link. You must specify the contribution year when making the request. To set up an ACH link, please select Establish ACH. ACH Deposit requests must be received by 3:30 PM ET for same day processing.
  • On-Line Billpay - Deposit via on-line billpay. For details how to add as a Payee at your Bank, please refer to the On-line Billpay FAQ. Please note the contribution year must be specified in the account number field by adding the year directly after your account number with no spaces or dashes in between. Any contribution without a year designation will be deposited as current year.
  • Internal Transfer - Retail individual/Joint (Held in IRA Account Holder's Name) to an IRA - Internally transfer a contribution from your Individual or Joint account to your Traditional or Roth IRA with a matching Tax payer I.D. Log into your Individual or Joint account and proceed to the Transfer Funds page. Select Internal Transfer option and enter your request. You must specify the contribution year upon entering. Requests must be received by 12:00 PM ET for same day processing.
  • Personal Check - Send a personal check specifying contribution year on check. Check deposits will be processed as current year contributions if year not specified on check deposit. Please refer to Check FAQ for further guidelines on depositing checks.
  • Check deposit mailing address:

    Attn: Cashiering
    P. O. Box 2197
    Chicago, IL 60690-2197
    150 S. Wacker, 12th Floor
    Chicago, Illinois 60606

    Delivery by courier service which requires signature or delivery:

    Attn: Cashiering
    150 S. Wacker, 12th Floor
    Chicago, Illinois 60606
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Can I make a contribution to my Traditional or Roth IRA account from my business account?
No, contributions must come from a personal account and must carry the same registration/information as the account holder.
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What is a Roth IRA?

An individual retirement account that allows a person to make after-tax contributions. In some cases, both earnings within the Roth IRA and withdrawals after age 59 ½ may be tax-free. As with all IRAs, there are specific eligibility and filing status requirements mandated by the IRS. Please consult with your tax advisor regarding your individual filing status.

Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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Who is eligible for a Roth IRA?

Anyone, who received taxable compensation during the tax year. (Example: If filing jointly, their spouse.)

Refer to IRS Pub 590 for more info at http://www.irs.gov/
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When can you withdraw from a Roth IRA?

You may withdraw funds at any time, however; please keep in mind that the distribution has to meet the IRS' guidelines to qualify for a tax and penalty free distribution. Please consult with your tax advisor on the qualifications for taking such a distribution.

Refer to IRS Pub 590-B for more info at http://www.irs.gov/
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What are the key advantages of a Roth IRA?
  • Contribution are not tax-deductible
  • Earnings are tax-free (subject to certain limitations)
  • Distributions: Qualified Withdrawals are tax-free.

Please consult with your tax advisor prior to taking a distribution

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How do I request a Roth IRA conversion?

Beginning in 2010, there is no gross income limit for converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. You may request a partial or full conversion of your retirement account. Please be aware a conversion may be a taxable event in the year the conversion takes place.

  • Both the Traditional and Roth IRA must be held at
  • Complete our system generated distribution form available on the Transfer Funds page under Related Links. Please select Conversion as the Distribution reason and complete form. (Must be logged into the distributing IRA)
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What is a SEP IRA-Simplified Employee Pension Plan?
  • SEP IRAs are retirement plans for self-employed people or owners of small companies.
  • SEP IRAs permit employers to make tax deductible contributions on behalf of themselves and their employees without complicated administration and with lower cost.
Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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Who is eligible for a SEP IRA?
  • If you are self-employed, you can make contributions based on your earned-income compensation with maximum contribution levels designated by the IRS.
  • If you are an employer, you may start a SEP for your employees.
  • If your employer offers a SEP plan you may participate.
Refer to IRS Pub 560 for more info at http://www.irs.gov/
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What are the key advantages of a SEP IRA?
  • Established and funded by self-employed individuals or small business
  • Must be established and funded by the employer's tax filing deadline, including extensions
  • Contributions are limited to 25% of compensation or $53,000, whichever is less.
  • Contributions within the limit is deductible on the employer's business tax return
  • Earnings grow on a tax-deferred basis
Refer to IRS Pub 560 for more info at http://www.irs.gov/
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How do I make a contribution to my SEP IRA?

If you are self-employed and are making contributions based on earned compensation, you may send funds directly to .

The maximum compensation on which contributions can be based is $260,000 for 2014 and $265,000 for 2015. For self-employed individuals, compensation means earned income.

Contributions can be made from a personal account or from a business account in the name of the employer.

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When can you withdraw from a SEP IRA?

Age 59 ½ or later. 10% penalty will apply for non-qualified withdrawals. Eligible withdrawals will be taxed at the current tax rate.

Refer to the IRS Pub 560 for more information at http://www.irs.gov/
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What is a SIMPLE IRA?

A SIMPLE IRA is a retirement plan that may be established by employers, including self-employed individuals (usually less than 100 employees)

This type of plan allows eligible employees to contribute part of their pretax compensation to the plan. This means the tax on the money is deferred until it is distributed.

Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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Who is eligible for a SIMPLE IRA?

If your employer offers a SIMPLE plan you may participate. If you are an employer, you may start a SIMPLE for your employees.

*NOTE: If you are a participant in another plan under a collective bargaining agreement you may not qualify for a Simple IRA.

Refer to the IRS Pub 560 for more information at http://www.irs.gov/
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What are the key advantages of a SIMPLE IRA?

SIMPLE plans are funded by employer contributions and/or by elective employee salary deferrals without complicated administration and with lower costs.

Trade Stocks, ETF, bonds, mutual funds and options.

Refer to the IRS Pub 560 for more information at http://www.irs.gov
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When can you withdraw from a SIMPLE IRA?

You may withdraw funds at any time, however; unlike Traditional and Roth IRAs a Simple IRA has a Two-Year waiting period prior to taking a distributions.

Please consult your tax advisor prior to taking a distribution from this type of IRA.

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What is a Coverdell Education Savings Account - ESA (Educational IRA)?

A Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) is an account created to assist families in funding educational expenses for Beneficiaries under the age of 18 or special needs . Contributions to a Coverdell Education Savings account are not tax deductible.

Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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Who is eligible for a Coverdell Education Savings Account - ESA (Educational IRA)?

If your child is under the age of 18 or a special needs, you may make a contribution.

Refer to the IRS site for more information at http://www.irs.gov/
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What are the Key advantages of a Coverdell Education Savings Account - ESA (Educational IRA)?
  • All earnings accumulate on a tax-deferred basis and can be withdrawn from the account tax-free, when used for qualified education expenses.
  • Can trade stocks, ETF, bonds, mutual funds and options.
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When can you withdraw from a Coverdell Education Savings Account - ESA (Educational IRA)?

Distribution may be taken at any time for qualified education expenses. The earnings portion of distributions that are not used for qualified expenses may be subject to ordinary income tax, plus a 10% penalty.

No penalty exists for withdrawals due to death, disability or scholarship. The balance remaining in the Coverdell ESA must be distributed or transferred to another eligible family member prior to the beneficiary attaining the age of 30.

** Please consult with your advisor prior to taking a distribution

Refer to the IRS site for more information at http://www.irs.gov/
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What is a Rollover IRA?

A Rollover IRA is a Traditional IRA that is often used by individuals who have changed jobs or retired and have assets in their employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b) Defined Benefit Plan etc.

Please read important IRA disclosure information.
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Who is eligible for a Rollover IRA?
Anyone is eligible for a Rollover IRA, who is looking to move their qualified employer retirement plan in to a self-directed IRA.
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What are the key advantages of a Rollover IRA?
  • Assets may be transferred to an employer plan, if their agreement allows it
  • Contributions may be tax-deductible if eligibility requirements are met. Please consult with your tax advisor as your income, filing status, and other retirement plans may affect your eligibility.
  • Within your IRA, you are able to trade stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds and options.
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When can you withdraw from a Rollover IRA?
You may withdraw funds at any time, however; if you are under the age of 59 ½ a 10% early withdrawal penalty may apply for non-qualified distributions. Eligible distributions may be taxed at the current tax rate. Please consult with your tax advisor prior to taking a distribution.
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Can I roll over an existing 401K into an IRA?
If you are changing jobs or retiring, you can roll a 401k plan (403b, PSP, MPP) into an Traditional or Rollover IRA account. To facilitate the rollover of funds, contact the 401k plan administrator for the distribution paperwork. Your fund administrator will then distribute the funds payable to your IRA. The trustee of the IRA will be Equity Trust Company, but the plan administrator should make funds payable to for the benefit of (FBO) your name and mail it to us. If the check is made payable directly to you, a Rollover Certification form must accompany the check.
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Can futures be traded in an IRA?
Futures accounts are limited to accounts coded for margin. Since IRA accounts are prohibited from trading on margin, these accounts are not eligible for futures trading.
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Where do I mail or fax my application or supplemental documentation to?

You may fax or mail your completed IRA application and additional paper work to.

Fax documents to:
ATTN: New accounts
312-629-5256 312-220-7414

Mail documents to:
(Delivery by courier service which requires signature or delivery)

Attn: Cashiering
150 S. Wacker, 12th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60606
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Do you allow equity and index options trading in IRAs?

Yes, we allow trading of equity and index options in IRAs based on the trading level assigned to an investor. Trading in IRAs includes call buying, put buying, cash-secured put writing, spreads, and covered calls. Please refer to our futures FAQs for questions regarding futures and futures options trading in IRAs.

Anyone considering trading options in a retirement account may wish to read the CBOE's publication on options trading strategies in IRAs and Keoghs.
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Do you offer Margin in an IRA account?

No, as margin is not permitted per the IRS' rules and regulations. However; we do allow for more advanced equity and index option trading based on the trading level assigned to each investor. The following restrictions do apply to all IRA accounts:

  • Cannot borrow funds creating a debit cash balance.
  • Cannot short a stock.
  • Not allowed to sell naked options.
  • Cross margining of stock and options not allowed.
  • Day trading is restricted to start of day buying power.
  • Portfolio Margin is not available for IRA accounts.
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How long will it to take to transfer an IRA from another firm to ?
Account transfers can take approximately a week and a half once paperwork has been received. However; in some cases they can take 7 to 30 business days should additional documentation be required or based on what is being transferred out.
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What are the IRA contribution limits for 2015?

Please note these are maximum contributions dependent on both your modified Adjusted Gross Income and Tax Filing Status.

2015 Limits Under age 50 Over age 50
Traditional IRA $5,500 $6,500
Roth IRA $5,500 $6,500
Simple IRA $12,500 $15,000
Sep IRA* Lesser of 25% of compensation or $53,000 (2015)($52,000 for 2014)
Education IRA $2,000  
 
*Employer contributions only
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What is my required minimum distribution (RMD)?
RMDs are minimum amounts that a retirement plan accountholder must withdraw on an annual basis once the age of 70 ½ is attained. To calculate an RMD, use the December 31st year-end balance for the previous tax year, and use your Life Expectancy Table provided in. Publication 590-B at www.irs.gov. (Should you need assistance in calculating your RMD, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Area at 888-280-8020 or visit our Live Help)
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Do you have IRA calculators available?
IRA calculators can be accessed through our IRA Trustee Equity Trust. Please contact for further detail on how to access.
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How long does it take to fund my IRA?
Funds received via check or online bill pay check are held for 3-5 business days, ACH deposits are available (for trading) 3 business days after they are received. Bill pay checks received electronically are available the same day. If you are attempting to send a wire, please notify and let us know how to classify funds as additional paperwork may be required for proper reporting. Contributions for the prior Tax Year can be made until April 15th of the current. Envelopes must be postmarked by April 15th and the Contribution Year must be designated on the check. Contributions made with no designation will be classified as a current year contribution per the IRS' rules and regulations.
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Is there a required minimum balance requirement in an IRA account?
does not charge an establishment fee and the annual fee is paid by for maintaining your IRA account. However, all IRA accounts maintained at require a minimum equity balance of $200.00.
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Multi-leg option strategies are subject to multiple commissions. Profits may be eroded by the commission expended to open and close the positions and other risks apply.

This information should not be construed as providing individual tax or legal advice. Every investor is different and the best type of retirement account depends on your taxable income, age, family status and meeting IRS eligibility requirements. Please consult with your own tax or financial advisor to help you determine which type of retirement account(s) will work best for you regarding your own individual situation.