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Morgan Stanley has hired a huge Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey
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. Catena, his son, Steven, Erik Beiermeister, and Mercedes Fonte in addition to 3 clientele associates. They'd been generating $7.5 […]

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. Catena, his son, Steven, Erik Beiermeister, and Mercedes Fonte in addition to 3 clientele associates. They'd been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, based on a person familiar with the practice of theirs, and joined Morgan Stanley's private wealth group for clients with $20 million or even more in their accounts.
The staff had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six households which have an average net worth of fifty dolars million, as reported by Barron's, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four top rated advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter which 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 2 years since Barron's assessed their practice.

Catena, who spent all but a rookie year of his 30 year career at Merrill, did not return a request for comment on the team's move, which took place 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 the practice of his, 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 his son, Steven, came into the business he started viewing his firm with a new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven's career?"

The move comes as Merrill is launching an interesting enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional 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 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, as reported by FintechZoom.

Beiermeister, which works individually from a branch in Florham Park, New Jersey, started the career of his 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.

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

 

The group is actually at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and seems to be the biggest. It also 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 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 years 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 months earlier and 481 higher than at the conclusion of the third quarter. Most of the increase came out of the addition of more than 200 E*Trade advisors who work primarily from call centers, a Morgan Stanley executive said.

Merrill Lynch, that 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.

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