Morgan Stanley has hired a significant Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in New Jersey and Florida 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 as well as three customer associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, in accordance with a person familiar with their practice, as well as joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 million or more in their accounts.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households which have an average net worth of $50 million, as reported by Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 best advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter that 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 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 occurred in December, based on 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, according to Diamond.
“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill-with no objective 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 new enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an extra 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 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, according to FintechZoom.
Beiermeister, which works individually from a branch in Florham Park, New Jersey, began the career of his at Merrill in 2001, according to BrokerCheck. Fonte started the career of her 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 biggest. Additionally, it selected 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 who had won asset growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26 year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb who was generating 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 years it closed its net recruiting gap to near zero as the number 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. Much of the increase came from the inclusion of around 200 E*Trade advisors who work primarily from call centers, a Morgan Stanley executive said.
Merrill Lynch, which 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.