Morgan Stanley has hired a big 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 3 client associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, based on a person familiar with the practice of theirs, as well as joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 million or even more in the accounts of theirs.
The team had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six households that have an average net worth of fifty dolars million, according to Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 top rated advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter which worked with the team 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 although a rookie year of his 30-year career at Merrill, didn’t return a request for comment on the team’s move, which occurred in December, based on BrokerCheck.
Catena decided to move after his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence began considering a succession plan for his practice, based on Diamond.
“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill with no purpose to make a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when the son of his, 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 which can add an extra 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout whenever they consent 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 his career at Merrill in 2016 but sojourned at Prudential Investment Management from 2017 until 2020 before rejoining, according to FintechZoom.
Beiermeister, who works separately from a department in Florham Park, New Jersey, began his career at Merrill in 2001, as reported by BrokerCheck. Fonte started the career of her at Merrill in 2015.
A spokesperson for Merrill didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
The group is at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and also appears to be the biggest. In addition, it employed 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 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 very first time in recent times it closed its net recruiting gap to near zero as the amount 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. Most of the increase came from the addition 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 the number of its of branch-based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.