Morgan Stanley has hired a big Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in New Jersey and Florida 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 three clientele associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, based on a person familiar with the practice of theirs, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with $20 million or perhaps more in their accounts.
The team had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six 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 who worked with the group 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 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 decided to move after his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence began 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 objective to come up with a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he started to view his firm through a brand new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”
The move comes as Merrill is actually launching an innovative enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout once they consent 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 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 individually from a department in Florham Park, New Jersey, started 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 at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and appears to be the biggest. It also selected 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 that had won asset growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26 year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb that was generating 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 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 twelve months earlier and 481 higher than at the conclusion of the third quarter. Most 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, that has stood by the freeze of its 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.