MML Investors, the hybrid broker/dealer and registered investment advisory of insurance provider MassMutual, lost an office of supervisory jurisdiction in the Gulf Coast of Texas to Cetera Financial Group.
James Starnes, the former president and CEO of MassMutual's Texas Gulf Coast practice, exited MML to launch a $2.4 billion AUM OSJ with Cetera, according to an announcement.
Starnes renamed the OSJ Totus Wealth Management after the Latin word meaning “the whole.” The firm said in a statement that the name reflects its approach to client service.
Six financial professionals and four support staff join Starnes in the move.
Starnes said in an interview that he switched to Cetera because he “wanted a partner that didn’t make anything” to reduce the number of conflicts of interest and create an environment where the client’s best interest comes first.
“There are conflicts in the way contracts and compensation are developed and put into place by both the wirehouses and the insurance companies,” he said. “If you manufacture something—whether you are or are not following Reg BI, there is a perceived conflict.”
Totus is still searching for a partner for the insurance side of its business, Starnes said.
He added that Totus clearing with Cetera and using Pershing as its custodian provides an additional layer of “oversight” and “due diligence” that he found appealing.
Totus plans to expand the firm by adding more advisors. The OSJ supports advisors with services around casualty and property insurance, asset management and advice.
Starnes has 20 years of industry experience under his belt. He started at Smith Barney (now Citigroup) and has also worked at Morgan Stanley and UBS.