I'm trying to decide which firm I should join, both seem to be very similar. I'm having trouble understanding a few things though: Echo is asking for $870 up front for exchange membership fees for the entire year along with series 7 registration. They are a member of PHLX but apparently Assent is not a member of any exchange. The rep from Assent said there would be no benefit to a trader if the firm was a member of an exchange. As such, I wouldn't have to pay those extra fees with Assent, just the $250 to take the series 7. Does anyone know why one firm is a member of an exchange and the other isn't? Is this important in deciding which one to join?