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Morgan Stanley has hired a significant 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 as well as three client associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, in accordance with an individual familiar with their practice, and also joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with twenty dolars million or even more in the accounts of theirs.
The team had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households which have an average net worth of fifty dolars million, based on Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 top rated advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter who 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 two years since Barron’s assessed the practice of theirs.

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

Catena made the decision 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 come up with a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he soon began to view his firm with a whole 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 that can add an extra 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout when they agree to leave their book 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 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 separately from a department in Florham Park, New Jersey, began the career of his at Merrill in 2001, based on 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 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 Florida and New Jersey

 

The group is a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months as well as appears to be the biggest. It also selected 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 that had won asset growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26 year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb that 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 who left.

It ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors – 482 more than twelve months 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 who work primarily 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.

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