Morgan Stanley has hired a significant Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey as it will add to the list of multi-million-dollar hires from the rival wirehouse.
The group includes Lawrence W. Mercedes Fonte, Erik Beiermeister, Steven, his son, and Catena as well as 3 clientele associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, in accordance with a person familiar with the practice of theirs, as well as joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 million or even more in their accounts.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households that have an average net worth of fifty dolars million, as reported by Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four best advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter that worked with the team on their move, said that their total assets were $1.2 billion when factoring in new clients and market appreciation in the 2 years since Barron’s assessed their practice.
Catena, who spent all but a rookie year of his 30 year career at Merrill, didn’t return a request for comment on the team’s move, which occurred in December, according to BrokerCheck.
Catena made the decision to move after his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence began considering a succession plan for his practice, based on Diamond.
“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill-with no intention to come up with a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he started viewing the firm of his with a brand new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”
The move comes as Merrill is actually launching an interesting enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout once they agree to leave their book at the firm, but Diamond said the updated Client Transition Program wasn’t “on Larry’s radar” after he had decided to make his move.
Steven Catena started his career at Merrill in 2016 but sojourned at Prudential Investment Management from 2017 until 2020 before rejoining, as reported by FintechZoom.
Beiermeister, who works separately from a branch in Florham Park, New Jersey, began the career of his at Merrill in 2001, as reported by BrokerCheck. Fonte started the career of her at Merrill in 2015.
A spokesperson for Merrill didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
The group is a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and appears to be the biggest. It also selected a duo with $500 million in assets in Red Bank, New Jersey last month and a pair of advisors producing about $2.6 million from Merrill in Maryland.
In December, Morgan Stanley lured a solo producer in California which had won asset growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26 year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb that was generating more than $2 million.
Morgan Stanley aggressively re-entered the recruiting market last year after a three-year hiatus, and executives have said that for the very first time in recent times it closed its net recruiting gap to near zero as the number of new hires offset those who left.
It ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors – 482 more than twelve months earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. A lot of the increase came out of the addition of more than 200 E*Trade advisors that work largely from call centers, a Morgan Stanley executive said.
Merrill Lynch, that has stood by the freeze of its on veteran broker recruiting put in place in 2017, no longer breaks out its number of branch-based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.