Southeastern lender

BB&T

(BBT) - Get Report

is bolstering its asset management business by buying a significant interest in

Sterling Capital Management

.

In a deal announced Wednesday, BB&T said it is buying a 70% equity interest in Sterling Capital, an investment advisory firm with $8 billion in assets under management. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The partnership with Sterling Capital, which will retain its name and operate as independent subsidiary of BB&T, will add to the investment offerings of the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based bank's own $16 billion asset-management group.

"We look forward to working alongside Sterling Capital as asset management affiliates serving both institutional and high-net-worth clients,'' said Keith Karlawish, president of BB&T Asset Management.

Sterling Capital, based in Charlotte, N.C., is the manager of two small mutual funds: the Sterling Capital Small Cap Value Fund and the Sterling Capital Balanced Fund. Both funds are laggards this year, with the small-cap fund down 4.6% and the balanced fund off 1.3%.

In midday trading, shares of BB&T were down 15 cents to $40.04.