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 client associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, in accordance with a person familiar with their practice, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 million or 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 $50 million, as reported by Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four top advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter that worked with the team on their move, said that their total assets 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 however, 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, based on 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, based on Diamond.

“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill with no goal to make a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when the son of his, Steven, came into the business he soon began 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 a unique enhanced sunsetting program in November that can add an additional 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout whenever they agree to leave their book at the firm, but Diamond said the updated Client Transition Program was not “on Larry’s radar” after he had decided to make his move.

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, that works individually from a part in Florham Park, New Jersey, started his career at Merrill in 2001, based on BrokerCheck. Fonte started her career at Merrill in 2015.

A spokesperson for Merrill didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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

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

 

The group is actually at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months as well as seems to be the largest. Additionally, it selected a duo with $500 million in assets in Red Bank, New Jersey last month and a pair of advisors producing aproximatelly $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 that was producing much 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 in recent times 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 twelve weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the conclusion of the third quarter. A lot of the increase came from the addition of over 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.