Analysts say that Bank of New York Co. probably paid $15 million to $30 million for the unit investment trust servicing business of Investors Fiduciary Trust Co., a subsidiary of State Street Boston Corp.

The purchase, which closed Friday, will add immediately to earnings, Bank of New York said.

The deal adds 580 trusts with $3 billion of investments to the 4,100 trusts with $26 billion of assets Bank of New York already administered. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Securities processing and related services have been steadily consolidated as smaller banks or institutions unwilling to invest in expensive technology sell their operations to bigger players, like Bank of New York.

"What this really reflects is Bank of New York's continuing aggressive approach to being a big player in the securities processing business," said James H. McKenzie, consulting director at the San Francisco-based Spectrem Group.

"The more volume you can obtain and put into your system," he said, "the more profitable you're going to be if you've got a good infrastructure, since the incremental costs are not substantial."

Unit investment trusts are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are similar to mutual funds, except that they invest in a fixed portfolio of securities. Units in the trust are sold to investors for a fixed amount and a fee of about 4%.

Bank of New York does not originate such trusts but acts as a trustee for the broker-dealer who sponsors them. The bank handles administration, accounting, custody, transfers, and shareholder relation services.

The trusts involved in the Investors Fiduciary Trust acquisition were set up by Everen Securities Inc.

Investors Fiduciary Trust had been acquired by State Street in January 1995. The company provides custody, portfolio accounting, and transfer agency services to the mutual fund industry. A spokesman for State Street noted that the unit investment trust business sold to Bank of New York was "a very small part of what IFTC does."

Separately, State Street disclosed it has been selected by Connecticut and Missouri as custodian for their respective public funds, with a total of $26 billion in assets.

The agreements call for State Street to provide domestic and global custody, accounting, securities lending, performance measurement, and global cash management for the $14 billion Connecticut fund and the same services, plus short-term investment management, for $12 billion of Missouri school retirement funds.

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