Morgan Stanley has hired a huge Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey as it adds 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 customer 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 team for clients with twenty dolars million or even more in their accounts.
The team had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six households who have an average net worth of $50 million, according to Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 top advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter who worked with the group on the move of theirs, said that their total assets were $1.2 billion when factoring in new clients and market appreciation in the two 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 decided to move after his son Steven 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 the son of his, Steven, came into the business he soon started viewing his firm through a brand new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”
The move comes as Merrill is actually 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 had 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 separately from a part in Florham Park, New Jersey, began his career at Merrill in 2001, as reported by BrokerCheck. Fonte started the career of her at Merrill in 2015.
A spokesperson for Merrill did not immediately return a request for comment.
The group is at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and seems to be the largest. Additionally, it employed a duo with $500 million in assets in Red Bank, New Jersey last month in addition to 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 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 first time recently it closed its net recruiting gap to near zero as the amount of new hires offset those that 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 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 its freeze 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.