Do I want to affiliate with a high profile or low profile broker/dealer? Advisors generally fall into one of two categories: those who want the backing of an established team and a recognizable brand; and the entrepreneur who wishes to create his own brand that isn?t overshadowed by the broker/dealer.

Which model am I best suited for ? one that puts the highest value on payout or one that emphasizes service and added value? Compensation in the mid-to-high 90-percentage range is nice, but you might have to sacrifice other aspects of the relationship. Some firms might not offer the highest payouts, but instead empahsize the advisor?s time with clients.

What type of payout grid does the broker-dealer employ? Some are simple; others are highly stratified, complex and confusing. The less convoluted, the better.

How will the broker/dealer support me during the transition? Given the complexities of transitioning to a new broker/dealer, at both the client and back-office levels, it?s crucial to align with one that offers strong transitional support. Some send a teams of people to the advisor?s office to expedite the changeover.

How financially solid is the broker-dealer? There?s no downplaying the importance of aligning with a stable company. Beware companies that are shrouded in secrecy due to legal/compliance issues or corporate restructuring.

How much do I value technology in my practice? Advanced technology is something that lures reps to a particular broker/dealer. Advisors who are less tech-savvy may care little about access to advanced software and Internet-based back-office features.

Am I truly a financial planner or more of a producer? Some broker/dealers cater to transaction-oriented agents and advisors. Others use an affiliation model better suited to a comprehensive financial planning approach.

Is serving the advisor the company?s core business? One of the main reasons advisors seek independence is the lack of emphasis a former employer placed by on advisory services. If the advisory segment is a non-core element, a company will give it second-class treatment.

What?s best for my client? The broker/dealer should make it easy to integrate your clients into a new environment.

How much do they want me personally? In the financial services business, relationships are as important as numbers. Advisors like being with a firm in which they?re more than a number.