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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 New Jersey and Florida 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 as well as 3 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 group for clients with $20 million or perhaps more in their accounts.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households which have an average net worth of $50 million, based on Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 best advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter that worked with the team on their move, 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 their practice.

Catena, who spent all however, a rookie year of his 30-year career 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 his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence started considering a succession plan for his practice, according to Diamond.

“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill-with no purpose to come up with 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 new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”

The move comes as Merrill is actually launching a different enhanced sunsetting program in November that can add an additional 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout once they agree to leave their book 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, based on FintechZoom.

Beiermeister, that works separately 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 did not immediately return a request for comment.

Morgan Stanley has hired a huge Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in New Jersey and Florida
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 as well as seems to be the largest. Additionally, it employed 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 which had won asset-growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26 year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb which 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 first time in recent times 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 weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the conclusion of the third quarter. A lot of the increase came from the addition of over 200 E*Trade advisors who work largely 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 the number of its of branch based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.

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