A banking company on Philadelphia's famous-and wealthy-Main Line has established a subsidiary to answer customers' most taxing questions.

Bryn Mawr Bank Corp. opened Tax Counsellors of Bryn Mawr Inc. on July 1. Its goal is to provide tax advice to the parent company's banking and trust customers.

Robert L. Stevens, chairman of $350 million-asset Bryn Mawr Bank Corp., said he wanted customers to get answers to tough tax questions. The new firm provides tax analysis for family businesses, high- net-worth clients, and estates, he said.

"They had to go elsewhere because we didn't have the expertise to do it," Mr. Stevens said. "I think it rounds out the way we relate to our customers."

The move by Bryn Mawr comes as many banks, large and small, are seeking to branch out into investment services and other avenues of fee income related to banking. Rather than start from scratch like Bryn Mawr, however, many of them are trying to buy their way into the business.

Bryn Mawr already has many potential clients among its customers. It owns well-established Bryn Mawr Trust Co., which manages $1.2 billion of assets.

William H. Giese will head Tax Counsellors will as president and chief executive. Mr. Giese was a partner for 18 years at Price Waterhouse.

Mr. Stevens said Bryn Mawr started discussing the idea of setting up a tax counseling subsidiary with Mr. Giese last fall. Mr. Giese was attracted by the company's small size and sophisticated investment management services, and he brought clients from his accounting days, the banker said.

Ashley B. Griffith, a research analyst at McConnell, Budd & Downs, Morristown, N.J., said the new tax consulting subsidiary will provide another source of fee income for Bryn Mawr, which already generates 38% of its total revenues from fees, especially from its trust business.

Bryn Mawr reported returns on assets and equity of 1.67% and 16.2%, respectively, on March 31. Its stock price is hovering around $36, about 216% of book value. "Their core banking business doesn't grow at a rapid pace, but they continue to produce very stellar results," Mr. Griffith said.

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