SunTrust Banks Inc. plans to open an offshore trust company next month on Grand Cayman, an island in the British West Indies.

The $48 billion-asset company wants to set up SunTrust Banks Trust Co. (Cayman) Ltd. to serve foreign clients with homes in Miami who want to keep their money in a trust on the Cayman Islands.

However, the Atlanta-based banking company needs approval from its regulator, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, before it can carry out its plans to serve its Miami customers.

"This is in response to meeting (clients') tax-planning needs," said Hunting F. "Hunt" Deutsch, president of the trust and investments group of SunTrust of Florida.

Foreigners with homes in the United States want to keep money they earned overseas out of reach of Uncle Sam. "It's in their best interest," he added.

No SunTrust employees will work in Grand Cayman. Instead the company will hire Royal Bank of Canada, which has administrative facilities on the island, to provide operations support.

SunTrust is moving to the Cayman Islands the assets already held in trust for foreign clients in Britain's Channel Islands.

"Most of our clients are in our time zone, and the six-hour time difference created some issues," said Mr. Deutsch.

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Swiss Bank Corp. has opened a private banking office in Houston to get closer to wealthy customers in the Southwest and Mexico.

The Basel-based bank received approval for a representative office on Jan. 14. A growing number of existing clients in Houston and other southwestern cities encouraged Swiss Bank to open the office, according to a bank spokeswoman.

The office will be directed by Fabio Restrepo, who joined the bank last year, coming from Houston investment management firm InterAmericas Corp. Previously, Mr. Restrepo was an account manager at Citicorp's private bank for 25 years.

He is joined in Houston by Marcel Beeler, associate director responsible for domestic marketing, and Ruth Galdamez, chief administrator.

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State Street Boston Corp. plans to open a private client office in Greenwich, Conn., a wealthy New York suburb.

"We've been considering this expansion into Greenwich for quite awhile because of the demographics and the new wealth being created there," said Chris A. Hynes, managing director of State Street Global Advisors.

The plans won't be finalized until office space is secured, he added. In November, Dirk R. Dreux 4th was hired as chairman of State Street Bank and Trust Co. of Connecticut to direct the expansion.

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