Aiming to increase its trust assets under management, WSFS Financial Corp. in Wilmington, Del., has formed a seven-member advisory board to help it better serve existing clients and identify new ones.

WSFS inherited roughly $7 billion of trust assets under management when it acquired Christiana Bank & Trust Co. in December of last year, and since then revenues in its trust division are up about 20% year-over-year, said Mark Turner, WSFS' president and chief executive. 

The goal in establishing an advisory board that includes three former founders of Christiana Bank & Trust and the bank's former CEO is to "retain the institutional knowledge" of Christiana's former directors and ensure the trust  division's successful integration into WSFS, Turner said in an e-mailed statement.

The board members are John W. Field, a management consultant and former Delaware CEO of J.P. Morgan & Co.; Donald Delson, a senior adviser at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc; Calvert. A Morgan Jr., a vice chairman as WSFS; Zissimos Fragopoulos, a former CEO at Christiana Bank; and W. Timothy Cashman, John A. Herdeg, and John J. Nesbitt 3rd, all founders and former directors at Christiana Bank.

Turner said in an news release that the expertise of the board will help WSFS provide its customers with "superior" asset-mangement services.

"An ancillary benefit," he added in the e-mail, "will be to explore local market opportunities, including those from distracted competitors in Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania, where we were are adding branching presence."

One competitor from which it could potentially poach clients is Wilmington Trust Co., a longtime rival - and a significant player in the trust business - that was taken over in May by M&T Bank Corp. in Buffalo. WSFS, with $4 billion of assets, is now the largest banking company based in Delaware. 

Since the deal for Wilmington Trust closed, WSFS has opened three branches - including two in Pennsylvania - and broken ground on another, expanded its small-business lending team and added two new financial advisers to its investment group.

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