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 three clientele associates. They had been generating […]

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 three clientele associates. They had 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 team for clients with $20 million or perhaps more in the accounts of theirs.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households who have an average net worth of $50 million, according to Barron's, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 best advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter which 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 their practice.

Catena, who spent all though 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 took place in December, based on BrokerCheck.

Catena decided to move after the son Steven of his 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 make a move," Diamond wrote in an email. "But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he started to view 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 launching a completely new enhanced sunsetting program in November that can add an additional 75 percentage points to brokers' payout once they consent to leave their book at the firm, but Diamond said the updated Client Transition Program wasn't "on Larry's radar" after he'd 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, as reported by FintechZoom.

Beiermeister, who works separately from a department in Florham Park, New Jersey, started 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 didn't immediately return a request for comment.

Morgan Stanley has hired a significant 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 Florida and New Jersey

 

The group is a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and also seems to be the biggest. It also hired 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 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 first time recently 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 weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. Most of the increase came from the inclusion of more than 200 E*Trade advisors that work primarily 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 its number of branch based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.

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