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 customer associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, based on an individual familiar with the practice of theirs, as well as joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with $20 million or even more in their accounts.
The team had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households which have an average net worth of $50 million, as reported by Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 top advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter which worked with the group 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 the 30 year career of his at Merrill, didn’t return a request for comment on the team’s move, which took place in December, according to 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, based on Diamond.
“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill-with no intention to make 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 actually launching a completely new enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout when they agree 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’d 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 separately from a part in Florham Park, New Jersey, began the career of his at Merrill in 2001, based on BrokerCheck. Fonte started the career of her at Merrill in 2015.
A spokesperson for Merrill did not immediately return a request for comment.
The group is a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and also appears 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 aproximatelly $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 who was producing 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 first time in recent years it closed its net recruiting gap to near zero as the number of new hires offset those who actually 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 from the addition of around 200 E*Trade advisors that work largely from call centers, a Morgan Stanley executive said.
Merrill Lynch, which has stood by the freeze of its 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.