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Morgan Stanley has hired a huge 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 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 as well as 3 customer associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, in accordance with an individual familiar with their practice, as well as joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 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, as reported by Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four top rated advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter who worked with the group on the move of theirs, 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 happened 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 the practice of his, according to Diamond.

“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill with no purpose to create a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when the son of his, Steven, came into the business he began to view his firm through 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 seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout when 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 the career of his 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, started his career at Merrill in 2001, according to 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 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 New Jersey and Florida

 

The group is a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and appears to be the biggest. In addition, it 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 producing 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 first time in recent times 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 weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. Much of the increase came from the inclusion of around 200 E*Trade advisors that work primarily 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.

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