The 5498s come from Provident. He said it was a retirement from a former employer that he rolled into Provident years ago.
Hes writing checks to Reliant.
First, find out if the "checks" he writes are regular checks from his checking account. For a self-directed IRA, it is hypothetically possible to have special IRA checks from Provident. It is probably not the case, but you may want to double check that.
Assuming that is NOT the case, then the client needs to contact this company and ASK them if this is in an IRA. It sounds like it is not (no 5498s), but he should check anyways.
If both of those are a "no", then this is not part of an IRA. It is just an investment.