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SEI Investments declares special dividend

OAKS, Pa. (AP) -- Investment management firm SEI Investments Co. on Tuesday raised its semi-annual dividend, said it will pay a special dividend in December and may buy back more of its stock.

The company raised its semi-annual dividend by a penny to 16 cents. It also declared a special dividend of 32 cents. Both dividends are payable Dec. 28 to shareholders of record on Dec. 21.

Many companies have declared special dividends in late 2012. They are looking to shield investors from a potential increase in taxes on income from dividends.

Since 2003 investors have paid a maximum tax rate of 15 percent on dividend income. That historically low rate will expire in January, unless Congress and President Barack Obama reach a compromise on taxes and government spending. As it stands, dividends will be taxed as ordinary income in 2013, the same as wages, so rates will go up depending on which income bracket a taxpayer is in. For the highest earners, the dividend rate would climb to 43.4 percent.

SEI also doubled the amount of money it has allotted to buy back its shares, to about $100 million. It's spent $146 million purchasing its stock this year.

Buying back stock can make shareholders' holdings more valuable and boost earnings per share.

Stock of the Oaks, Pa., company added 36 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $22.37 in afternoon trading. Shares had gained 27 percent this year.