Morgan Stanley has hired a big Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey as it will add 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’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to an individual familiar with the practice of theirs, as well as joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with twenty dolars million or more in their accounts.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households which have an average net worth of fifty dolars million, according to 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 group on their move, said that their total assets 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 but a rookie year of his 30 year career at Merrill, didn’t return a request for comment on the team’s move, which occurred in December, as reported by BrokerCheck.
Catena decided to move after his son Steven 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 create a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he soon started viewing the firm of his with 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 new enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an extra 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout once they consent 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, according to FintechZoom.
Beiermeister, which works separately from a department in Florham Park, New Jersey, began the career of his at Merrill in 2001, according to BrokerCheck. Fonte started her career at Merrill in 2015.
A spokesperson for Merrill didn’t 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 seems to be the biggest. It also hired 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 who 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 amount of new hires offset those that left.
It ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors – 482 more than 12 weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. A lot of the increase came from the addition of around 200 E*Trade advisors who work primarily 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 its number of branch-based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.