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<<I'm interested in shifting my IRA accounts into stocks. One is presently in a mutual fund and the other is a variable annuity. I know very little about the regulations for IRA's and need to ask a simple question: if I want to buy stock directly from a company, can I do this myself somehow or must I have an account held with a brokerage firm in order for the IRS to consider it an IRA?>>

I know of no company that sells it's own shares directly to you and then maintains them within your IRA as a custodian. That doesn't mean one doesn't exist, just that I'm unaware of any. For that purpose, you will need a broker who can buy the shares for you and maintain them within an IRA along with any of your other IRA investments.

If you want to transfer your existing IRAs (the fund and the annuity) to a self-directed IRA so you can buy stocks, any broker can help you through the steps to do that.

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