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Morgan Stanley has hired a big 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 New Jersey and Florida 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 three client associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to a person familiar with their practice, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with $20 million or perhaps more in the accounts of theirs.
The staff had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households that have an average net worth of fifty dolars million, based on Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four best advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter which worked with the team 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 however, a rookie year of his 30-year career at Merrill, did not return a request for comment on the team’s move, which happened in December, based on BrokerCheck.

Catena made the decision to move after his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence started considering a succession plan for the practice of his, according to 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 the son of his, Steven, came into the business he soon began viewing the firm of his with a whole new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”

The move comes as Merrill is launching a new enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout whenever they agree 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, as reported by FintechZoom.

Beiermeister, who works individually from a part in Florham Park, New Jersey, started his career 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 big Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey
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 largest. Additionally, it hired 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 generating 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 first time recently 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 12 weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the conclusion of the third quarter. Most of the increase came out of the addition of over 200 E*Trade advisors that work largely 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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