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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

BGI Extends Distribution Deal

by: Ki Kim

Barclays Global Investors (BGI) has expanded its agreement with SEI Investments to serve as the sole, legal distributor of its $12 billion mutual fund complex. The BGI Funds are primarily sold to defined-contribution retirement plans, confirmed a spokesperson for BGI.

Oaks, Pennsylvania-based SEI will provide distribution services, including contact center support, general legal consulting, marketing materials review and literature fulfillment.

In addition, SEI has been tapped for an expanded role with the BGI-sponsored iShares family of exchange-traded funds, for which has been the legal distributor as well. Specifically, SEI has been retained to provide a newly-created wholesaling sales force of nine staff targeting regional broker-dealers.

This initiative marks the first time that iShares will be marketed to that regional channel. Though iShares already employs a dedicated wholesale force of 12, that team targets national offices and the larger broker-dealers, according to the spokesperson.

"We have long believed that regional broker-dealers represent opportunity for growth, but we waited to serve this important market segment until we had the right resources in place," said James Polisson, director of marketing for BGI's Intermediary Business. "Now, with the help of SEI, we believe we can support this group with the quality and thoroughness of service they expect from BGI."

"It's especially gratifying when a world-class organization with the reputation and resources of BGI selects SEI to help them grow their business," said Wayne Withrow, executive vice president of SEI Investments.

"BGI's experience with SEI as iShares distributor revealed a company with a thorough understanding of our firm's products and the distribution process," said Lee Kranefuss, CEO of BGI's Intermediary Business. "We're pleased to have SEI supporting our Master Investment Portfolios efforts, as well." 

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