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 three 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 also joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with twenty dolars million or perhaps more in the accounts of theirs.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six households which have an average net worth of $50 million, according to Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four top advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter who worked with the group on the move of theirs, 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 the practice of theirs.
Catena, who spent all but 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, as reported by BrokerCheck.
Catena decided to move after his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence started considering a succession plan for his practice, according to Diamond.
“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill-with no objective to create a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he soon began viewing his firm through a new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”
The move comes as Merrill is actually launching a unique enhanced sunsetting program in November that can add an additional seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout once they agree 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’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, based on FintechZoom.
Beiermeister, who works individually 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 as well as appears to be the biggest. In addition, it employed 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 which had won asset growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26 year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb which was producing 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 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 twelve weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. Much of the increase came from the addition of more than 200 E*Trade advisors who work largely 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.