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Raymond James Financial announced this morning that it has closed the deal to purchase regional firm Morgan Keegan from Regions Financial Corp. for $1.2 billion in cash. The combined firm will have 6,500 advisors and $372 billion in total client assets.

The combined broker/dealer subsidiary, which includes Morgan Keegan advisors and Raymond James & Associates, its employee channel, will be known as Raymond James | Morgan Keegan. John Carson, former CEO of Morgan Keegan, has been appointed president and executive committee member of Raymond James Financial, the parent company, alongside CEO Paul Reilly. He’ll also serve as head of fixed income.

Morgan Keegan’s top 12 executives have joined Raymond James, as well as about 1,000 advisors from the private client group. Of the 600 advisors who were offered a retention award, 96 percent have signed paperwork to accept the offers to stay, said Dennis Zank, chief operating officer. The remaining 400 or so FAs have stayed on so far, and Zank expects to retain virtually of those reps.

“I think there’s this misconception that if an advisor wasn’t offered retention, that they wouldn’t be joining the firm, and nothing could be further from the truth,” Zank said.

Since announcing the deal earlier this year, Raymond James has lost less than a handful of Morgan Keegan FAs, according to Zank. Retention has been the firm’s top priority.

But at least seven advisors have jumped ship since December, although it’s not clear whether they made the decision before or after Raymond James’ announcement.

The next step in the integration process will be to roll out Raymond James’ products and services to Morgan Keegan advisors, including its equity research, trust services, marketing, and bank products, Zank said. The conversion of Morgan Keegan’s private client accounts onto Raymond James’ platform will take the longest, and this is expected to finish by early 2013. The firm is already in the process of integrating the equity capital markets and fixed income capital markets capabilities.