Morgan Stanley has hired a big Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey as it adds 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 3 clientele associates. They’d 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 group for clients with twenty dolars million or perhaps more in the accounts of theirs.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households which have an average net worth of fifty dolars 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 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 but a rookie year of the 30 year career of his at Merrill, didn’t return a request for comment on the team’s move, which took place in December, according to BrokerCheck.

Catena decided to move after the son Steven of his rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence started considering a succession plan for his practice, based on 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 began to view the firm of his 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 different 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 wasn’t “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, based on FintechZoom.

Beiermeister, who works separately from a part in Florham Park, New Jersey, started his career 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.

Morgan Stanley has hired a big Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey
Morgan Stanley has hired a huge Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey

 

The group is actually at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and seems to be the biggest. Additionally, it selected a duo with $500 million in assets in Red Bank, New Jersey last month as well as 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 producing 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 very 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 12 months earlier and 481 higher than at the conclusion of the third quarter. Much of the increase came out of the inclusion of around 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 the number of its of branch-based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.