BOSTON - The board of directors of Eaton Vance Corp., an investment management firm, has approved a plan to spin off the company's 77% ownership of Investors Bank and Trust Co. to the company's shareholders in a tax-free distribution of shares.

The transaction would free Investors from the 1987 Competitive Equality Banking Act, which limits bank subsidiaries of nonbank holding companies to a 7% growth in balance sheet assets in any 12-month period.

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