A month after deciding to stay independent, a California banking company has made its first expansion move.

First Republic Bancorp, a $2.2 billion-asset banking company, last week tentatively agreed to acquire a 19.9% stake in New York-based Trainer, Wortham & Co., one of the nation's oldest investment advisory firms.

San Francisco-based First Republic, through its subsidiary First Republic Savings Bank, would pay $7 million for its stake in the advisory firm. First Republic would also have an option to expand its stake.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Trainer, Wortham & Co., which was founded in 1924, manages more than $2 billion for affluent individuals and institutional investors, including foundations and endowments.

James Herbert, First Republic's president, said the company would be able to offer Trainer, Wortham's investment management services to First Republic's high-net-worth clientele. "We serve much of the same type of client base," he said.

First Republic, which specializes in luxury home loan financing, had been shopping around for a buyer. But last month, it told its investment banker, Montgomery Securities, that it would stay independent. Officials said neither the time nor the price was right to sell the banking company.

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