Consider my experience with Sterling Trust (privately owned by Equity Trust and the Richard Desich family)
Been associated with Sterling Trust for over 8 years in the capacity of agent for multiple self directed precious metals IRA's.
I manage several precious metals IRA accounts ranging from $60, 000 to $2M in value.
Sterling Trust was at one time owned by United Western Bancorp, Inc. and is now owned by Equity Trust.
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.
Over the years I cannot count the number of times that my principals' transactions have been completely ignored by Sterling employees. Want to find a manager who cares so as to rectify any given problem? Not going to happen. The incompetent underlings have full discretion regarding if and when to escalate your concern to higher management which means your concerns, by default, are never heard.
Here is a recent email I sent to the executive assistant to the Desich family that controls Sterling Trust:
My name is SC. I manage the self-directed precious metals IRA's for several principals' assets held by Sterling Trust/Fidelitrade.
The current problems regard Sterling Trust account number XXXXX in the name of JC.
On February 14, 2011 an agreement was struck to sell (a bullion dealer) five silver bars for around $xxxK. As of March 3rd 2011 no transaction has been reflected at Sterling Trust. This transaction requires no shipping of bars due to this being an internal transfer within DDSC.
On 2/5/11 I called Sterling to check this transaction's status and was told that the cash balance would be posted on Monday to reflect that the $xxxK has been credited to J's account.
Monday came and went with no credit to the account. I called Sterling on Tuesday to find out what is going on only to be put on hold for a total of 45 minutes with no explanation of what exactly the problem is. At this time I requested the audience of the most superior of management and was told that this was impossible at this point. Was told that Chaneeka Moore would watch the situation and get back with me. No communication from Chaneeka as of this email.
To date I have been told that Fidelitrade has not processed the transaction but no explanation has been provided as to why Sterling is requiring its customers to light a fire under Sterling to expedite these transactions.
On November 2nd an identical situation occurred but it took one month to resolve because I(the agent) erroneously believed that Sterling would not allow a transaction to be in limbo indefinitely. I now understand that if I do not become a seriously screeching wheel that all transactions will remain un-executed and blamed upon Fidelitrade.
The transaction occurring on January 12, 2011 was finalized within one week because I involved upper management at (a bullion dealer) in the previous transaction.
My expectations are that transactions are to be completed in no more than one week and without me calling Sterling Trust everyday to "remind" them to do their job. Furthermore, when I get the idea that the lower echelon customer service people are not interested in solving my principals' problem then said problem needs to be escalated to an individual that does have an interest in solving the problem. As it is, Sterling Trust has exhibited no interest in solving the problem of excessive transaction times or even adequately explaining why there are excessive delays. Don't you think that allowing lower level customer service(cs) staff the discretion to not escalate cs problems to upper management will produce the outcome of improper or no escalation of customer service problems as has been the case here?
Sterling Trust's behavior has spooked all of my principles to the point where they are preparing to move their accounts out of Sterling Trust. Since no satisfaction is forthcoming from Sterling I am requesting the audience of Richard Desich so that he may know what is going on. I fear that Richard may have no idea how bad the communication problem has gotten at Sterling due to the fact that Sterling will not reveal supervisor names in order to escalate customer service problems.
In my attempt to escalate this issue to an actual problem solver I have requested to speak with Jeff Kelly( Sterling COO?) several days ago. I was told that this could not happen because customer service problems must go up a "chain of command".
I would like a response from Richard addressing this issue. I need to know what Richard's position is regarding all of this so that I can better inform my principals. As an agent I have a fiduciary responsibility to my principals in making certain that they are operating with the most accurate information available so that they can make the most informed decisions possible. Lack of communication and transactional indifference leading to excessive transaction delays on the part of Sterling Trust staff has made being a customer a nightmare to say the least. Please have Richard inform me as to what my expectations should be going forward regarding all of this so that I may relay said expectations to my principals.
Thank you for your effort in this manner,
As of 3/5/11 I have not heard a thing regarding this matter. If history is an indication of what will happen then all of my questions and concerns will be completely ignored. My principals are making plans to extract themselves from Sterling Trust as a direct result of the incompetence and indifference experienced throughout these several years.