Morgan Stanley has hired a big 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 three customer associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, based on an individual familiar with their practice, as well as joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team 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 who have an average net worth of $50 million, based on Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four top rated advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter that 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 two years since Barron’s assessed their practice.
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, according to BrokerCheck.
Catena made the decision to move after his son Steven 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 purpose to make a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when the son of his, Steven, came into the business he soon started to view the firm of his through a brand 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 that can add an additional seventy five 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 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, according to FintechZoom.
Beiermeister, that works individually from a part in Florham Park, New Jersey, began his career at Merrill in 2001, as reported by BrokerCheck. Fonte started her career at Merrill in 2015.
A spokesperson for Merrill didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
The group is actually a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and seems to be the biggest. In addition, it hired 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 which was producing much 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 actually 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. A lot of the increase came out of the inclusion of more than 200 E*Trade advisors who 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.