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Proceeding with its strategy of consistently enhancing shareholder value, SEI Investments Co. (SEIC - Analyst Report) announced new capital deployment plans. Apart from raising its semi-annual dividend, the company also increased its share repurchase authorization.

SEI Investments declared a semi-annual dividend of 20 cents per share, up 25% from the previous amount. The dividend will be paid on Jun 25 to shareholders of record as of Jun 17.

Since 2008, SEI Investments has increased its dividend every year. The last rise was in Dec 2012 when the company hiked its semi-annual dividend 6.7% to 16 cents per share. Further, in the same month, the company had announced a special cash dividend of 32 cents.

Along with the dividend rise, SEI Investments increased its share buyback program. The company raised its share repurchase authorization by $100 million, thus making the total buyback authorization $139 million.

Till date, SEI Investments has repurchased 1.8 million shares worth about $52.2 million, including 1.3 million shares at an average price of $28.54 per share during first-quarter 2013. Moreover, in 2012, the company repurchased approximately 7.5 million shares worth $155.3 million. During 2012, the company returned about $290.6 million to shareholders through dividend payments and share buybacks.

Apart from SEI Investments, other investment managers that increased their dividends include Invesco Ltd. (IVZ - Analyst Report), Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (AMP - Analyst Report) and Legg Mason Inc. (LM - Analyst Report). Invesco hiked its cash dividend by 30% to 22.5 cents per share, Legg Mason 18.0% to 13 cents and Ameriprise 15.6% to 52 cents.

We believe that the latest boost in SEI Investments’s dividend reflects its commitment to return value to shareholders through its strong cash generation capabilities. Moreover, the company has healthy capital and liquidity levels.

Currently, SEI Investments carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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