NU Online News Service, Jan. 16, 2004, 12:18 p.m. EST – Strong sales and the stock market rebound drove up fourth-quarter results at the wealth advisory services unit at Wilmington Trust Corp., Wilmington, Del.[@@]

A 27% increase in wealth advisory sales helped increase wealth advisory fee income to $38.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2003, up 16.8% from the total for the fourth quarter of 2002.

“Most of the increase resulted from strong sales activity with new as well as existing clients,” Wilmington Trust says in a comment on the results.

Sales growth was particularly strong in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, the company says.

Wilmington found that demand was strong for “open architecture” investment consulting services that gave clients access to independent managers.

Wilmington also had good luck with selling high-end financial planning services.

Fees from financial planning, estate settlement activities and other services not directly related to investment market movements jumped 62.5%, to $6.5 million, Wilmington reports.