Morgan Stanley has hired a big Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey as it contributes 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 and also three customer associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, in accordance with a person familiar with their practice, as well as joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with $20 million or more in their accounts.
The staff had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six households which have an average net worth of $50 million, according to Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four top rated advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter which worked with the team on the move of theirs, said that the total assets of theirs 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 the 30-year career of his at Merrill, did not return a request for comment on the team’s move, which happened in December, according to BrokerCheck.
Catena decided to move after his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence began considering a succession plan for his practice, according to 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 his son, Steven, came into the business he started viewing his firm with a whole new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”
The move comes as Merrill is launching an innovative enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout when 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’d 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 individually from a branch in Florham Park, New Jersey, began the career of his at Merrill in 2001, according to BrokerCheck. Fonte started her career at Merrill in 2015.
A spokesperson for Merrill did not 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 also appears to be the biggest. In addition, it employed 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 who was producing 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 that 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. Most of the increase came from the inclusion of over 200 E*Trade advisors who work primarily 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.