In February 2010, the head of Firstrust Financial Resources LLC said the advisory firm was looking at different options to spur growth — with a goal of increasing assets under management from $600 million to $1 billion.

A year later, the unit of Firstrust Bank in Conshohocken, Pa., made its move. FFR has affiliated with the insurer MetLife, which will provide it with not only MetLife's product platform, but also with strategic help in expanding the business, said Timothy Abell, Firstrust Bank's president. "It's good for customers, because MetLife has great products and services, which means our advisers are going to have more tools in their toolbox," Abell said. "And MetLife is willing to invest in this business and help build it over time."

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