UMB Financial Corporation of Kansas City, Mo. signed a letter of intent last week to acquire Sunstone Financial Group of Milwaukee, Wis. for an undisclosed amount, according to Mim Allison, president and CEO of Sunstone.

The acquisition is significant in that the two companies will combine their mutual fund processing operations and will incorporate all aspects of their mutual fund businesses, including custody, cash management, transfer agency, administration, fund accounting, underwriting, distribution, marketing and shareholder communications, according to Sunstone. It will be the first time custody and distribution services will be offered by one company, according to Sunstone.

Sunstone has had an alliance with UMB for several years, but products were legally offered by the two distinct financial institutions, Allison said. The passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act removed laws which prohibited custody and distribution services being offered by one company, Allison said.

Allison will remain president and CEO of Sunstone and will also serve on UMB's board of directors. Sunstone will continue to operate from its headquarters in Milwaukee, will keep its current management and staff, and will continue to operate under the Sunstone name, Allison said.

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