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Morgan Stanley has hired a huge Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management team based in Florida and New Jersey

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. Mercedes Fonte, Erik Beiermeister, Steven, his son, and Catena and also 3 client associates. They’d been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, based on a person familiar with the practice of theirs, and also joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth team for clients with $20 million or more in their accounts.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from seventy six households who have an average net worth of $50 million, as reported by Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four top advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter which worked with the group on the move of theirs, 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 the practice of theirs.

Catena, who spent all although 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, as reported by 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, according to 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 the son of his, Steven, came into the business he started to view 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 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 was not “on Larry’s radar” after he had 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, based on FintechZoom.

Beiermeister, that works individually from a department in Florham Park, New Jersey, began the career of his at Merrill in 2001, as reported by 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 significant 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 Florida and New Jersey

 

The group is actually a minimum of the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months as well as seems to be the largest. 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 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 which 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 in recent years it closed its net recruiting gap to near zero as the amount of new hires offset those who 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 more than 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 the number of its of branch-based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.

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