Morgan Keegan advisors with $300,000 or more in production during the past 12 months will be offered retention packages from Raymond James, which is buying the firm for about $930 million.

The standard retention package in the industry is usually made to advisors with $500,000 or more in production, Raymond James says.

"The range of advisors receiving these retention award offers is considerably wider than industry norms," says Raymond James COO Dennis Zank, who is leading the integration effort for the firm. "We are offering five graduated levels of awards based on annual production. We hope each and every one of Morgan Keegan advisors will chose to stay," adds Tash Elwyn, Raymond James and Associates president.

In addition to cash awards, a part of which may be taken in restricted stock units of Raymond James Financial, the advisors will be eligible for Raymond James' profit sharing, employee stock ownership, and 401(k) and stock purchase plans. Advisors who qualify for recognition clubs also may get additional stock options awards, a long-term incentive plan and other retention bonus programs.

The awards will be paid within two weeks of closing date, which is expected to be around April 1. The deal to buy Regions Financial Corp's Morgan Keegan was announced in mid January.

"While our preference is generally organic growth, we have used strategic mergers to grow throughout our history when the timing and pricing are right," says Raymond James CEO Paul C. Reilly.

The purchase of Morgan Keegan will make the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James one of the top underwriters of U.S. municipal bonds and will expand its retail brokerage network, placing it among the nation's biggest broker-dealer firms.

-Karen DeMasters