(Dow Jones) Advisors at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney who were eligible for retention packages as a result of the brokerages' merger will get their checks, which range from 30% to 75% of their production in cash, today.

The package, which was revealed to brokers last February, is in the form of a nine-year forgivable loan, and was offered to any brokers producing more than $500,000 annually.

Morgan Stanley offered retention payments to 6,500 brokers. The brokerage, which now has just over 18,000 advisors, didn't say exactly how many brokers accepted the package, but that nearly all of its top producers are on board.

The brokerage has lost roughly 2,000 advisors since it announced the joint venture a year ago, many of whom left because they weren't included in the retention program.

Now that the remaining advisors are receiving their checks, it could open up the door for additional departures. Brokers now will know their price.

"It puts a number on everything that didn't have one previously," a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney advisor in the South said.

He said many advisors weren't sure how big their bonus checks would be this month, between the retention package and other deferred compensation. Once they know how much money they will get to stay at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, they will know how big of a signing bonus they would need to be lured to a new firm.

However, analysts say they think the flood of brokers leaving the joint venture has come and gone; anyone who was going to leave as a result of the merger has already left.

Because the cash is in the form of a forgivable loan, the brokers will have to repay the remainder of the loan if they leave the firm before the nine-year mark.

The package is on a sliding scale, offering brokers with $500,000-$749,999 in production 30% of their production in cash. Brokers with $750,000-$999,999 receive 50% of production. Those with $1 million and more will get 75% of their production in cash.

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