Morgan Stanley has hired a big Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in New Jersey and Florida 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 in addition to three customer associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to an individual familiar with the practice of theirs, as well as 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 that have an average net worth of $50 million, as reported by 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 their move, said that the total assets of theirs 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 although 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, according to BrokerCheck.
Catena made the decision to move after his son Steven 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 objective to make a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, 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 launching an innovative enhanced sunsetting program in November that can add an extra seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout whenever 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 the move of his.
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 department 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 actually a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and appears to be the largest. 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 who had won asset-growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26-year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb that was generating 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 who actually 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. 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 the freeze of its 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.