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

Morgan Stanley has hired a significant 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. Catena, his son, Steven, Erik Beiermeister, and Mercedes Fonte and also 3 client associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to a person familiar with the practice of theirs, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with twenty dolars million or more in their accounts.
The group 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 84 top rated advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter which 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 2 years since Barron’s assessed their practice.

Catena, who spent all although a rookie year of his 30-year career at Merrill, didn’t return a request for comment on the team’s move, which took place in December, as reported by BrokerCheck.

Catena decided to move after the son Steven of his rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence began considering a succession plan for his practice, according to 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 began to view his firm through a brand new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”

The move comes as Merrill is actually launching a completely new enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout when 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 had decided to make the move of his.

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, which works separately from a branch in Florham Park, New Jersey, began his career at Merrill in 2001, according to BrokerCheck. Fonte started her career at Merrill in 2015.

A spokesperson for Merrill did not immediately return a request for comment.

Morgan Stanley has hired a big 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. It also employed 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 that 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 years it closed its net recruiting gap to near zero as the amount 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 conclusion of the third quarter. Much of the increase came from the addition of around 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.

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