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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 as it contributes 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 an individual familiar with their practice, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 million or perhaps more in their accounts.
The team had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households which have an average net worth of fifty dolars million, based on Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 top rated advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter that worked with the team 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 2 years since Barron’s assessed their practice.

Catena, who spent all although a rookie year of the 30 year career of his at Merrill, did not return a request for comment on the team’s move, which took place in December, as reported by BrokerCheck.

Catena decided to move after his son Steven rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence started considering a succession plan for the practice of his, according to Diamond.

“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill with no objective to make a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when his son, Steven, came into the business he soon started viewing his firm 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 extra 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout whenever 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 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, based on FintechZoom.

Beiermeister, which works separately from a department in Florham Park, New Jersey, began his career at Merrill in 2001, based on 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 big Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey

 

The group is actually at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and also appears to be the largest. Additionally, 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 much 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 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 twelve weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. A lot of the increase came out of the addition of more than 200 E*Trade advisors who 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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