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Morgan Stanley has hired a significant 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 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 and also 3 customer associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, in accordance with an individual familiar with the practice of theirs, and also joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 million or even more in the accounts of theirs.
The staff 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 84 top 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 2 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 happened in December, based on BrokerCheck.

Catena made the decision to move after his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence began considering a succession plan for his practice, based on Diamond.

“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill with no goal to make a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he started to view the firm of his 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 interesting enhanced sunsetting program in November which can add an additional 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’d decided to make his move.

Steven Catena started his career at Merrill in 2016 but sojourned at Prudential Investment Management from 2017 until 2020 before rejoining, according to FintechZoom.

Beiermeister, who works separately from a part 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.

Morgan Stanley has hired a huge Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in New Jersey and Florida
Morgan Stanley has hired a huge 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. It also hired 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 which had won asset growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26 year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb which was producing 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 who actually 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 addition of around 200 E*Trade advisors that 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 the number of its of branch based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.

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