Morgan Stanley has hired a significant 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 three clientele associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to an individual familiar with their practice, as well as joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with twenty dolars million or even more in their accounts.
The staff had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six households which have an average net worth of fifty dolars 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 team 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 the practice of theirs.
Catena, who spent all though 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, as reported by BrokerCheck.
Catena made the decision to move after the son Steven of his rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence began 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 intention to create a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he soon started viewing 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 launching a new enhanced sunsetting program in November which 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 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, which works individually from a branch in Florham Park, New Jersey, began the career of his at Merrill in 2001, as reported by BrokerCheck. Fonte started her career at Merrill in 2015.
A spokesperson for Merrill didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
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. In addition, it selected a duo with $500 million in assets in Red Bank, New Jersey last month in addition to a pair of advisors producing aproximatelly $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 who 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 amount of new hires offset those that left.
It ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors – 482 more than 12 weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the conclusion of the third quarter. Much 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 its number of branch based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.