LEE — Lee Bank has joined forces with a Springfield-based investment firm to form a new entity that will offer personal investment and financial planning services in Berkshire County.
The bank's partnership with St. Germain Investment Management of Springfield has resulted in the formation of October Mountain Financial Advisors, whose offices will be located adjacent to the bank's headquarter's building on West Park Street.
October Mountain Financial Advisors has been operating for several months, but the firm is expected to move into its new offices in Lee in May, said Timothy W. Suffish, St. Germain's senior vice president and head of equities.
Lee Bank and St. Germain refer to their partnership as a "strategic alliance" because they have a referral agreement with each other, according to Suffish.
"It's very helpful and important for Lee Bank to have an additional source of revenue and to get to the point where we can offer our valuable customers a full slate of financial services," Lee Bank President and CEO Charles N. Leach said.
Leach, who was named president and CEO of Lee Bank last July, formerly served as senior vice president/managing director of wealth management and chief investment officer at Berkshire Bank Wealth Management.
"The synergy with St. Germain is a perfect fit," Leach said. "We can fill in a lot of gaps for them, and they can fill in gaps for us.
"There's a lot of common ground there," Leach said. "It's really come together nicely and it's already been quite successful."
When its office opens in Lee, October Mountain Financial Advisors will have six employees based in the Berkshires, Suffich said. Four of them are current St. Germain employees Suffich, Matthew R. Farkas, Thaddeus S. Welch and Richard R. Bleser, who all currently reside in Berkshire County. Two new employees will also be added.
"St. Germain is a business that has been in Springfield since 1924 and our client base is still concentrated around Springfield," Suffich said.
St. Germain also has an office in Hartford, Conn., but Suffich said the company has been interested in expanding beyond the Connecticut River Valley area.
"We've always wanted to branch out from that," he said. "Personally and for selfish reasons I'd like to have little bit more exposure in the Berkshire market because that's where I and the others live."
Leach and Suffich worked together at the former Bank North branch in Pittsfield. Suffich also worked with former Lee Bank President and CEO David J. Bruce, who stepped down last July when he was replaced by Leach.
Bruce, who still chairs Lee Bank's board of directors, helped to put the partnership together.
"He really formulated it before I got here," Leach said.
Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413-496-6224.