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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 Florida and New Jersey as it adds to the list of multi-million-dollar hires from the rival wirehouse.

The group includes Lawrence W. Mercedes Fonte, Erik Beiermeister, Steven, his son, and Catena as well as 3 client associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to an individual familiar with the practice of theirs, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with $20 million or more in the accounts of theirs.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households who have an average net worth of $50 million, as reported by 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 although 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, based on 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, according to Diamond.

“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill-with no intention to come up with a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when the son of his, Steven, came into the business he started viewing his firm through a 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 extra 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 was not “on Larry’s radar” after he had decided to make the move of his.

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, who works individually from a branch in Florham Park, New Jersey, started the career of his at Merrill in 2001, as reported by BrokerCheck. Fonte started her career at Merrill in 2015.

A spokesperson for Merrill did not immediately return a request for comment.

Morgan Stanley has hired a significant 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 seems to be the biggest. It also 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 who had won asset growth accolades from Merrill and in October hired a 26 year Merrill lifer in a Chicago suburb who was producing 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 very first time recently it closed its net recruiting gap to near zero as the number of new hires offset those that left.

It ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors – 482 more than 12 months earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. Most of the increase came from the inclusion of over 200 E*Trade advisors who work primarily from call centers, a Morgan Stanley executive said.

Merrill Lynch, which has stood by the freeze of its 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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