Morgan Stanley has hired a significant 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 as well as three client 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 the accounts of theirs.
The staff had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six households which have an average net worth of $50 million, as reported by Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 top rated advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter that worked with the group 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 two years since Barron’s assessed the practice of theirs.
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 happened 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, as reported by 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 the son of his, Steven, came into the business he soon started to view the firm of his through a brand new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”
The move comes as Merrill is actually launching a unique enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout when 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, based on FintechZoom.
Beiermeister, who works individually from a part in Florham Park, New Jersey, started his career at Merrill in 2001, as reported by 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 at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and also seems to be the biggest. In addition, it selected a duo with $500 million in assets in Red Bank, New Jersey last month and a pair of advisors producing about $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 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 around 200 E*Trade advisors that work largely 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.