Fidelity Investments is rolling out a new program called Options For Independence designed to help breakaway brokers navigate the growing array of options and business models facing brokers who opt to leave wirehouses and go independent.

The program is comprised of four new educational models. The first, dubbed The Evolving Landscape, spells out best practices when considering going independent. The second, called Business Model Consultation, goes into greater detail about questions brokers should ask when evaluating different business models.

"We are seeing an increase in the number of models" available to breakaway brokers, says Mike Durbin, president of Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, the firm's custodial platform for RIAs.

The third educational program, called Considerations Before Joining A Firm, pinpoints eight different factors brokers need to scrutinize before joining an existing RIA or independent broker-dealer. Likewise, the final program, Considerations Before Becoming An RIA, examines the issues brokers must grapple with and the financial implications of becoming an independent RIA.

Of the 120 teams that joined either the custodial platform or an independent brokerage that clears through National Financial, Fidelity's clearing unit, in the first nine months of 2010, 45% chose to start their own RIA and 55% opted to affiliate with a broker-dealer, according to National Financial president Sanjiv Mirchandani.

So far in 2010, total assets of teams coming to Fidelity through either option was 26% greater than the same period a year ago. Five of the 120 teams had assets of more than $500 million.