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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 and also three client associates. They had been generating $7.5 million in annual fees and commissions, in accordance with a person familiar with their practice, and joined Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group for clients with twenty dolars million or more in their accounts.
The group had managed $735 million in client assets from 76 households who have an average net worth of $50 million, based on Barron’s, which ranked Catena #33 out of 84 top advisors in Florida in 2020. Mindy Diamond, an industry recruiter that worked with the group on their move, 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 however, a rookie year of his 30 year career at Merrill, did not return a request for comment on the team’s move, which happened in December, as reported by 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 his practice, as reported by Diamond.

“Larry always thought of himself as a lifer with Merrill with no objective to come up with a move,” Diamond wrote in an email. “But, when the son of his, Steven, came into the business he soon began viewing the firm of his with a brand new lens. Would it be good enough for the life of Steven’s career?”

The move comes as Merrill is launching a brand-new enhanced sunsetting program in November that can add an additional 75 percentage points to brokers’ payout once they consent 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 the move of his.

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, 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 significant 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 seems to be the largest. It also employed 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 which was generating 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 recently it closed its net recruiting gap to near zero as the amount of new hires offset those that left.

It ended 2020 with 15,950 advisors – 482 more than 12 weeks earlier and 481 higher than at the end of the third quarter. A lot of the increase came out of the inclusion of over 200 E*Trade advisors who work largely 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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