Morgan Stanley has hired a huge 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 customer associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to a person familiar with the practice of theirs, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with $20 million or perhaps more in their accounts.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households who have an average net worth of $50 million, based on Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 best advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter which 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 although a rookie year of his 30-year career at Merrill, did not return a request for comment on the team’s move, which occurred in December, based on BrokerCheck.
Catena decided to move after his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence started considering a succession plan for the practice of his, as reported by Diamond.
“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill-with no goal to come up with a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when the son of his, Steven, came into the business he started to view his firm through a whole new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”
The move comes as Merrill is actually launching a unique enhanced sunsetting program in November that can add an extra 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout once they agree to leave the book of theirs at the firm, but Diamond said the updated Client Transition Program wasn’t “on Larry’s radar” after he had decided to make the move of his.
Steven Catena started his career at Merrill in 2016 but sojourned at Prudential Investment Management from 2017 until 2020 before rejoining, according to FintechZoom.
Beiermeister, that works individually from a department in Florham Park, New Jersey, began the career of his at Merrill in 2001, according to 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 actually a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and seems to be the largest. It also hired a duo with $500 million in assets in Red Bank, New Jersey last month and a pair of advisors producing aproximatelly $2.6 million from Merrill in Maryland.
In December, Morgan Stanley lured a solo producer in California that 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 two dolars 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 years 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 twelve months earlier and 481 higher than at the conclusion of the third quarter. Most of the increase came from the addition of around 200 E*Trade advisors who work largely from call centers, a Morgan Stanley executive said.
Merrill Lynch, which 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.