Morgan Stanley has hired a big 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 in addition to three clientele associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to a person familiar with their practice, and also joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with $20 million or more in their accounts.
The staff 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 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 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, didn’t return a request for comment on the team’s move, which occurred in December, based on BrokerCheck.
Catena decided to move after the son Steven of his rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence started considering a succession plan for the practice of his, as reported by 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 his son, Steven, came into the business he soon began viewing his firm with a brand new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”
The move comes as Merrill is launching a brand-new enhanced sunsetting program in November that can add an extra 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout whenever they agree to leave the book of theirs at the firm, but Diamond said the updated Client Transition Program was not “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, that works individually from a part in Florham Park, New Jersey, started his career at Merrill in 2001, based on BrokerCheck. Fonte started her career at Merrill in 2015.
A spokesperson for Merrill did not immediately return a request for comment.
The group is at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and appears to be the largest. In addition, 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 which 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 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 years 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 12 weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the conclusion of the third quarter. A lot of the increase came from the inclusion of over 200 E*Trade advisors that 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.