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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 New Jersey and Florida 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 in addition to three client associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, according to an individual familiar with their practice, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with $20 million or even more in the accounts of theirs.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households that have an average net worth of fifty dolars million, as reported by Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of eighty four best advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter that 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 the practice of theirs.

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 occurred in December, according to BrokerCheck.

Catena made the decision to move after the son Steven of his rejoined the team in February 2020 and Lawrence started 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 goal to come up with a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when the son of his, Steven, came into the business he soon started to view the firm of his with a 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 extra seventy five percentage points to brokers’ payout whenever they agree to leave their book at the firm, but Diamond said the updated Client Transition Program wasn’t “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 his career at Merrill in 2001, based on 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 big 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 Florida and New Jersey

 

The group is actually at least the fifth that Morgan Stanley has hired from Merrill in recent months and seems to be the biggest. Additionally, it 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 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 first time in recent times 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 12 months earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. Most of the increase came from the inclusion of around 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 its number of branch-based wealth management brokers from its consumer-bank-based Edge brokerage force.

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