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 in addition to 3 customer associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to an individual familiar with the practice of theirs, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 million or more in their accounts.
The team had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households which have an average net worth of fifty dolars 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 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 however, a rookie year of his 30-year career 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 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 objective to come up with a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he soon started to view the firm of his with a whole new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”
The move comes as Merrill is launching a new enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an extra seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout when they consent to leave the book of theirs 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 the career of his at Merrill in 2016 but sojourned at Prudential Investment Management from 2017 until 2020 before rejoining, based on FintechZoom.
Beiermeister, which works separately from a part in Florham Park, New Jersey, started 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 didn’t 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 seems to be the largest. Additionally, it hired a duo with $500 million in assets in Red Bank, New Jersey last month as well as 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 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 that left.
It ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors – 482 more than twelve weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. Most of the increase came out of the inclusion of over 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.