Bank and Trust Co., is hunting for an asset management company that focuses on value-style investing.

The $529 million-asset private bank manages roughly $3 billion of assets in the stock of small- and large-cap companies in separate accounts for wealthy individuals but is looking to broaden its capabilities, said Timothy L. Vaill, chairman and chief executive officer of the holding company.

"We're in the deal flow," Mr. Vaill said. He said he is in contact with two investment banking companies about possible candidates.

A value-style manager would fit nicely with the bank's current growth style of investing, Mr. Vaill said. The ideal target would be a boutique that manages $500 million to $3 billion of assets, he said.

The bank, which looks for customers with investable assets of $750,000 to $1 million, has a total of 8,000 accounts, including 1,200 investment management customers, Mr. Vaill said. The private bank is responsible for large-cap equity management; another subsidiary, Westfield Capital Management, manages the small-cap accounts.

Mr. Vaill said the banking company is also looking for asset management capabilities in global and index investing, though not necessarily through acquisition.

"We want to go after every dollar on the table," he said.

Boston Private Financial seems to be on something of an expansion wave. Two weeks ago it bought Rinet Co., a fee-based tax, financial, and investment consulting firm in Boston. Terms were not disclosed.

David Ross Palmer, an East Falmouth, Mass., private banking consultant, said it makes sense for Boston Private Financial to broaden investing styles -- and amass additional accounts -- through acquisition.

"They're small, but they're well run," Mr. Ross Palmer said. However, Boston Private Financial is going up against some big competition, he said. "In Boston they're going up against Fleet."

But Mr. Vaill said he believes there is room for niche players in the current climate. Consolidation among banks has caused high-net-worth customers to reevaluate the level of personal service available to them, he said. For example, Mr. Vaill said he has spoken personally to a least half of the bank's 8,000 customers.

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