There is a unique tint with every precious metals company, and the same is true for those dabbling in gold IRAs. Augusta Precious Metals is no different. There are many things that make it stand out among its peers. Fortunately for those with an eye on opening a retirement account with them, virtually all of these things are good.
It’s hard to say any one company is perfect. We are all human, after all. Or, most of us. But in the case of Augusta, it’s clear that a perfect track record is something they strive for. It’s evident in the way they approach business, their company policies, their dedication to compliance, their structure and so on. And the reviews they’ve gotten very much fall in line with this.
Since Augusta is one of the rare gold IRA companies whose customers can get significant face-time with top brass, in this Augusta Precious Metals review, we’ll start off by going over how this company came about and who’s running the show.
About Augusta Precious Metals
The firm opened its doors in 2012, spearheaded by Isaac Nuriani. Nuriani acts as Augusta’s CEO and founder, and boasts over 20 years working in the precious metals industry. The person you’re more likely to encounter, however, is Steele.
Devlyn Steele is the company’s Director of Education. One could argue that Steele’s experience is even greater, as his financial analyst career started in 1983. Soon, Steele will celebrate 40 years in the financial sector, and you can imagine how well that translates to holding such a high position in the company.
Steele not only designs Augusta’s unique educational presentations, but also often hosts them in the form of online seminars. Furthermore, customers time and again remark how they hear from and talk to Steele very early on after reaching out to an Augusta representative.
It’s highly unusual to have a firm’s executive team talk to individual customers, and speaks to Augusta’s individual dedication. Based on the amount of reviews, it’s clear Augusta has a huge customer base. We’re not sure how Augusta pulls it off, but hats off to them.
Augusta is also known for educating customers and would-be ones on the good and bad sides of gold investment and precious metals IRAs companies. Again, very unusual in a good way for a precious metals company to tell their customers when they might not want to invest in physical gold.
Nuriani’s membership in the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA) also helps instill faith, as it’s one of the most known organizations in the sector. In terms of celebrity endorsements, Augusta makes good use of quarterback Joe Montana, who they tell us signed up for their precious metals IRA after attending their online seminar as an Average Joe.
What do the Augusta Precious Metals reviews say?
The larger a company gets, the more difficult it is to keep a spotless profile. Based on the amount of reviews, we’d say Augusta is one of the largest companies we’ve encountered in both the precious metals sector and the more narrow gold IRA one.
Where to begin? The Better Business Bureau is probably as good of a start as any. On the BBB page, they have a 4.96/5 star rating based on 110 reviews and no complaints. They’re also accredited with an A+, the highest possible mark. The same holds true on the Business Consumer Alliance (BCA), where they have the highest rating of AAA, 94 reviews and no complaints.
ConsumerAffairs gives them a 4.9/5 rating with no reviews under 4-stars, and TrustLink gives them a 5 out of 5 star rating based on 283 reviews. These aren’t the only consumer watchdog sites where Augusta is featured: digging will reveal more websites with a spotless or close to spotless record. Really, when we say “close to”, we mostly mean 4-star reviews.
Having a record like this can almost seem suspicious when lots of competitors, including some pretty decent companies, can have their share of negative reviews and complaints. Yet it’s not a trick: customers really are this satisfied with Augusta Precious Metals.
Mentions and accolades by some big names such as TrustLink and Investopedia, the former having given them consecutive “Best of TrustLink” awards, give more credibility to a company that already stands out as exceedingly credible.
Augusta Precious Metals products
One thing you’ll quickly notice about Augusta is that it has a narrow focus on gold and silver. While they might be able to assist you with procuring platinum and palladium for your precious metal IRA, it doesn’t seem to be on their radar.
Similarly, selling precious metals to regular buyers outside of an IRA appears to be an afterthought for the company. We’re sure it isn’t given the amount of collectibles available in their inventory, but it’s as if they don’t prioritize it.
If you’re looking to park your retirement savings, you should view this as a great thing. It means that the company has a narrow, if not a laser focus on gold and silver in an IRA. While nearly every competitor claims to be a specialist, Augusta probably fits that bill more accurately than any company you’ll come across.
Their gold IRA and secondarily their silver IRA are their primary products. As you probably know, these are self-directed retirement accounts that let you purchase precious metals with existing and inactive employer-sponsored retirement plans and IRAs. This account tends to be a lot more versatile than the classically-limited “stocks and bonds” one, not just because it offers exposure to alternative assets but also because a self-directed IRA lets you make investment decisions and steer the wheel however you see fit.
We’ll split Augusta’s exceptionally varied inventory into two sections: investment-grade bullion and collectibles. The two are interchangeable, but just based on inventory strength, it’s probably clearer to split them up.
- American Gold Eagle, 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz
- Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, 1oz
- South African Krugerrand, 1oz
- Austrian Gold Philharmonic, 1oz
- American Gold Buffalo, 1oz
- American Silver Eagle, 1oz
- Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, 1oz
- Austrian Silver Philharmonic, 1oz
- America the Beautiful, several varieties, 5oz
- Canadian Silver Blessings, 1oz
- Silver rounds, 1oz
- Gold bars, 1oz and 10oz
- Silver bars, 10oz and 100oz
Collectibles, or premium coins
Their collectibles inventory has the “sold out” or “limited” label pretty often, suggesting that inventory here depletes quickly. Nonetheless, we like that Augusta leaves the products in so that we know what might be returning to stock. The collectibles currently listed are:
- St. Helena Gold coin
- Gold Rose Crown coin
- Various years and denominations of the British Royal Mint’s Lunar New Year-themed gold coins
- Various gold coins minted in the 18th and 19th century
- Various Canadian gold and silver coins with a wildlife theme
- Various proof versions of the aforementioned investment-grade gold coins
- 5-piece sets of the aforementioned 18th and 19th century collector’s coins
- Commemorative 1984 gold coin
- British Royal Mint’s Gold Standard coin
- Silver bags containing “junk silver”, or 90% silver coins, with face values of $100, $250, $500 and $1,000
One look through the inventory, and it’s very much apparent that Nuriani isn’t just warming the chair as an ICTA member.
Augusta Precious Metals fees
- $50,000 investment minimum when opening an IRA
- $50,000 non-IRA precious metals purchase minimum
- $180 annual custody and storage fees, these can be waived anywhere from the first year to a decade
- No additional management fees
- 5% markup on bullion products
- No sales commission fee for their representatives – we’ll elaborate on this one later down the line
Augusta’s nitty-gritty: custody, storage, buybacks
Custodians and account managers
Augusta seems to prefer the Equity Trust Company but also lists Kingdom Trust and Goldstar Trust as two other custodial firms they work with. These are some of the biggest custodians, and certainly the most reputable, you’ll come across. They’ll manage the paperwork side of your IRA year after year. In other words, they’re handling the side of the business that you don’t want to handle.
We’d assume Augusta is open to working with other custodians should you so request. Either way, the custodian for your new IRA will work with whomever is managing your existing retirement plans and accounts in order to seamlessly liquidate the assets and roll them over or transfer them to the new IRA.
An important distinction needs to be made between the custodian and the account manager. The former handles paperwork: filings, earnings report and so on. Making sure nothing gets overlooked on the legal side of things. The second is someone among Augusta’s own personnel that is going to act as your assistant.
While you will probably have fairly minimal interaction with your custodian, the opposite holds true for Augusta’s account manager. They can guide you in the right direction when it comes to product choices and investment decisions to an extent. They aren’t supposed to offer investment advice, but can very much fulfill that role so long as you accept responsibility.
Having a dedicated account manager is a huge plus and not the norm among gold IRA companies. Many will, to varying degrees, leave you to your own devices once you’ve opened an account. The company won’t stop returning calls, but they won’t exactly give you a precious metals portfolio manager of sorts that can provide daily assistance with whatever inquiry you could have.
Since storing the bullion in your IRA at home tends to bring about account liquidations and penalties pretty soon, third-party storage is the norm. These are some of the most secure facilities out there that offer services to large and small enterprises, individual investors and so on. Think anyone ranging from the New York Stock Exchange to a coin collector. The facilities are fully insured and have security comparable to that found in and around Area 51.
Augusta Precious Metals has perhaps the best storage option we’ve come across, if for no other reason than that they arrange visits to the facilities. After all, what’s the point of tangible assets we can’t see? Most companies simply wouldn’t go through the trouble of applying such an individualistic approach.
In regards to the facilities themselves, Augusta likewise has some of the best options available. As in the case of custodians, Augusta will let you choose a preferred depository so long as it’s an IRS-approved one, with the Delaware Depository being their recommendation. That means you can almost certainly have your bullion stored in your own state and, if not, right next door.
You’ll also hear Augusta outline the importance of segregated and non-segregated storage, mentioning how you should always prefer the first. Since segregated storage is more difficult for everyone but the bullion owner, it’s clear that this advice is offered with your best interests in mind.
What are buybacks? Simply put, it’s like a long-lasting option to return an item to the store. Interestingly enough, while some companies do offer a no-questions-asked buyback policy, Augusta says that the law prohibits them from doing so.
On the other hand, they reveal that they have a buyback program on both the gold and silver that they sell. While there are no guarantees as mentioned above, customer feedback suggests that Augusta’s buyback feature is both accommodative and satisfactory.
What do we like most about Augusta Precious Metals?
We’ve outlined a lot of good sides about Augusta, but there are still a few unique perks to the company that make it stand out that we haven’t yet mentioned. These are…
- A lifetime support guarantee that promises your Augusta gold or silver IRA will be taken care of as well on day one as it will be a decade later
- No commission sales mean their representatives aren’t pressured to pitch, creating a more honest and easy-going atmosphere from the first time you line Augusta Precious Metals
- Clear markup on all products which makes up for a lack of pricing – collectibles aside, you’ll have a good idea how much Augusta charges for their products just by checking spot
What don’t we like about Augusta Precious Metals?
If any one company was perfect, there’d be no competition and we’d live in socialism. There are a few things about Augusta that some will certainly find less than optimal:
- $50,000 investment minimum is high for IRAs and really high for individual gold and silver bullion purchases
- The gold and silver bar choice is fairly limited, made more so by Augusta choosing the mint and not the customers
- While the company can offer platinum and palladium bullion products, these metals are not prioritized as much as gold and silver investments.
Augusta Precious Metals review – The best company in its category?
Augusta has a fairly defined customer base. These are retirement-oriented, though not necessarily those with an IRA, investors with a large-enough budget and a desire for gold and silver.
If you fall in this category, there is almost no chance that Augusta Precious Metals will disappoint you. Their gold and silver coin selection is exceptional and, despite the prices, you can get a good idea by mixing spot with their markup or simply searching around for how much collectibles are worth. Price matching is one of the things that Augusta is said to do well.
The company excels at customer relations, sporting a website that will equally appeal to novice investors and those with no shortage of experience. Their online seminars and the option to talk to the co-founder are icing on a cake with many layers.
There is no denying that $50,000 is a high investment minimum for an IRA and all the more so when purchasing bullion outside one. Just as there is no denying that platinum and palladium are popular investments.
Yet Augusta makes an ongoing point about transparency. With them, what you see is what you get. They might not have covered all the bases or have the competition beat in every single metric, but they’re very much open about this.
And it’s because of this, we’d say, that they’ve managed to avoid a single negative review over a decade into a sector that has no shortage of disgruntled customers. In short, if you like what Augusta has to offer, there is nothing to suggest you’ll be left wanting or “fine-printed” at any step of the way.