Advest Group Inc., a regional brokerage, is ready to market its personal trust business nationally after obtaining a federal charter for its banking subsidiary.

Advest Bank and Trust Co., Hartford, has operated under a Connecticut charter since 1984 and has managed trusts in the state for 10 years. It has $330 million of trust assets under management.

Advest hopes transforming the unit into a federally chartered savings bank with trust powers will better complement the brokerage.

Advest Bank is hoping to alleviate state-by-state compliance hassles by going forward with the national charter, following a rationale set forth by the Office of Thrift Supervision in an opinion letter in late 1995.

"Now it solves a very big marketing problem for us," said Michael W. Herlihy, president of Advest Bank and Trust. "We are able to market the estate planning products uniformly through (Advest Group's) system.

"That was a problem that plagued us because it was such a complex issue: the retail brokers were not clear on what our trust powers were in certain states so it was an issue everyone stayed away from," he added.

Trust clients at Advest continue to work with their brokers on matters of trading securities and selecting outside money managers. Advest Bank has trust officers and administrators in Hartford and New Canaan, Conn., Pittsburgh, and Springfield, Mass.

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