Stein Roe & Farnham's investment-management services will soon be available through a bank.

The Chicago-based firm sealed a deal Oct. 26 with First Federal Bank of Waterbury, Conn., to offer Stein Roe's investment-advisory and research expertise to bank customers who invest at least $50,000 in the Steinroe no-load fund family.

While the new program, called Steinroe Counselor, was rolled out nationwide last month, First Federal was the first bank to sip on.

"We're kicking it off to the sales force and hope to be live and selling to the public by Jan. 1," said Porter P. Morgan, investment strategist at Liberty Financial Cos., the parent of Stein Roe & Farnham.

Although he would not disclose names, Mr. Morgan said that three other banks wanted to pilot the program.

Mr. Morgan, who describes the program as "an extremely low-cost trust," said it fitted well in the bank environment and could generate income for banks regardless of their size.

Banks that offer the service directly to their customers retain most of the fee income, Mr. Morgan said. Bank customers will pay about 1% of assets annually for Steinroe's Counselor. In return, customers get ongoing investment advice.

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