Industry Spotlight: Bill Humphrey

Insights» Industry Spotlight

March 1, 2018by Originate Report Team

As a recognized expert in IRS regulations surrounding self-directed IRAs, 401(k)s, and other tax-advantaged accounts, Bill Humphrey has spent years providing first-class education on alternative retirement assets to investors, accountants, and real estate professionals. An experienced Certified Public Accountant, Mr. Humphrey has focused on income tax, auditing, tax-related real estate issues, and forensic accounting for over 20 years.

In 2003, Mr. Humphrey co-founded New Direction IRA, a provider and administrator of self-directed retirement accounts that allow alternative holdings like real estate, precious metals, and promissory notes. Mr. Humphrey provides direct oversight of technological advancements that improve the investor experience and safeguard sensitive personal information. He also promotes a company-wide  knowledge base of the current issues that affect alternative asset markets and our clients. New Direction IRA provides administrative services for nearly 17,000 accounts and approximately $1.88 billion in holdings.

Originate Report: How did you get started with New Direction IRA?
Bill Humphrey: Before starting the company in 2003, our other co-founder and I were real estate investors. As we continued to achieve personal success in the alternative asset space, we began to ask ourselves, “Why can’t we do this with our retirement plans? Why not yield these same profits while enjoying the tax benefits of an IRA or 401(k)?” We learned that we had been able to invest in that very manner all along, but our advisors and brokers — who drew commissions from publicly traded securities — were not overly keen to share this information. Once we knew about the alternative investing options available through retirement plans, we left Wall Street and never looked back. We started New Direction IRA to give everyday investors the same opportunity.

OR: What can New Direction offer loan originators?
BH: We love teaching loan originators about putting their expertise to work for their retirement, just as we did with real estate. Your IRA funds can collect interest on loaned money in the same way you do with personal money, all with the tax advantages provided by the account. You, through the freedom afforded by self-direction, can still manage your lending activities using the practices you’ve already mastered.

If you’re in business for yourself, SEP IRAs and Solo 401(k)s provide self-employed individuals with higher contribution limits and more flexibility than other retirement savings vehicles. In a nutshell, New Direction empowers lenders to supplement their personal income with tax-advantaged retirement income, all while utilizing familiar strategies.

OR: What is New Direction doing differently in 2018 than in previous years?
BH: Demand for IRA-owned cryptocurrency seemed to dominate 2017, so we’re working hard to offer straightforward custodial services for investors hoping to allocate their retirement dollars toward Bitcoin and other key assets in that space. In conjunction with this effort, we’re diligently searching for ways to incorporate as much technology as possible into every investment process. Stacks of paperwork and lengthy processing times have led to negative stigmas about self-directed retirement investing, so we’re always striving to transcend those stigmas by providing the most efficient client experience we can.

OR: What sets New Direction apart from other IRA providers?
BH: New Direction sets itself apart through comprehensive asset administration and competitive fees. Most IRA providers only allow stocks, mutual funds, and other more traditional IRA holdings. Those that permit alternative investments often limit their clients to a handful of options, while others charge such ridiculous fees that investors question the viability of self-directed investing.

Our clients have the ability to invest in just about anything allowed by the IRS, from more common strategies like private lending or real estate to more obscure opportunities like livestock, timber and oil. We’re also proud to help preserve your IRA earnings by not charging an arm and a leg for our services.

OR: How did you get started in this industry?
BH: As a CPA and forensic accountant, I have always been involved in tax issues and have maintained a special interest in the effects of particular tax strategies over time. Also, as I mentioned before, my time as a real estate investor prompted my investigation of the self-directed IRA field.

OR: What tools are essential to making New Direction succeed?
BH: The deep knowledge base and common purpose of the staff keep us going everyday. This may seem like a cookie-cutter service business, but it’s really not. Everyone who services our accounts moves in one direction and always works as a team. They understand our processes, why they’re important, and they’re sensitive to the ultimate goal of helping our account holders achieve their retirement goals.

We also strive to provide as much client education as possible. Although we’re unable to advise or recommend an investment strategy, we  take great pride in offering free access to blogs, webinars, and other valuable resources to give our clients every possible tool to succeed.

OR: What are some of the biggest challenges that New Direction IRA faces in the coming months/years?
BH: We’ve set some very lofty goals for 2018 in terms of growth as a company. The fulfillment of these initiatives will help New Direction expand our services and reach new investors like never before. Specifically, we look forward to further pursuing a presence in the cryptocurrency IRA space, as investor enthusiasm within this arena doesn’t appear to be waning.

OR: What has been the most important factor in your company’s growth?
BH: We remain committed to implementing new technology that promotes streamlined investment processes and secured client information. Such technology has already set New Direction apart within the self-directed retirement industry. Our success is further tied to our dedicated staff, which has consistently grown to meet the needs of our expanding client base.

OR:What are some of your professional goals for 2018?
BH: A seamless integration between investors and their asset vendors will be essential in 2018. We’re especially excited about the continued development of our myDirection®Pro platform, which will allow asset providers and advisors to better collaborate with their clients through secure access to mutually relevant information.