Morgan Stanley has hired a huge Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in New Jersey and Florida

Morgan Stanley has hired a huge Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in New Jersey and Florida as it adds to the list of multi-million-dollar hires from the rival wirehouse.

The group includes Lawrence W. Catena, his son, Steven, Erik Beiermeister, and Mercedes Fonte in addition to 3 client associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, based on a person familiar with their practice, and also joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 million or perhaps more in their accounts.
The team had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six households who have an average net worth of fifty dolars million, as reported by Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four top advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter who worked with the group 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 the practice of theirs.

Catena, who spent all however, a rookie year of his 30 year career at Merrill, did not return a request for comment on the team’s move, which took place in December, according to BrokerCheck.

Catena made the decision to move after the son Steven of his rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence started considering a succession plan for his practice, according to Diamond.

“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill-with no intention to make a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he soon began to view his firm with a brand new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”

The move comes as Merrill is launching a completely new enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout whenever they consent to leave their book at the firm, but Diamond said the updated Client Transition Program was not “on Larry’s radar” after he’d decided to make his move.

Steven Catena started the career of his at Merrill in 2016 but sojourned at Prudential Investment Management from 2017 until 2020 before rejoining, as reported by FintechZoom.

Beiermeister, who works individually from a branch in Florham Park, New Jersey, began his career at Merrill in 2001, based on BrokerCheck. Fonte started her career at Merrill in 2015.

A spokesperson for Merrill did not immediately return a request for comment.

Morgan Stanley has hired a big Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey
Morgan Stanley has hired a huge Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in New Jersey and Florida

 

The group is a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months as well as seems to be the biggest. Additionally, it hired a duo with $500 million in assets in Red Bank, New Jersey last month as well as a pair of advisors producing aproximatelly $2.6 million from Merrill in Maryland.

In December, Morgan Stanley lured a solo producer in California who had won asset growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26 year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb which was generating much 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 amount of new hires offset those who left.

It ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors – 482 more than 12 months earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. A lot of the increase came from the addition of over 200 E*Trade advisors who 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 the number of its of branch based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.