Bank of New York Co. this week joined a growing list of banking companies positioning themselves to offer hedge fund investments to wealthy clients - and is one of the first to do so through a purchase rather than a partnership.

The company said Tuesday that it had a deal to buy Ivy Asset Management of Garden City, N.Y., a firm that specializes in "funds of funds," which are attractive to wealthy clients who want to diversify their investments. KeyCorp, Chase Manhattan Corp., Citigroup Inc., and National City Corp. are banking companies that have introduced or created access to similar hedge funds.

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