SEI to acquire Atlas Master Trust from Capita

SEI has agreed to acquire Capita’s defined contribution (DC) master trust, Atlas, for an undisclosed sum, subject to regulatory approval.

Capita Pension Solutions will continue to provide pension administration services to the expanded SEI Master Trust.

Building on a long-term partnership, the acquisition will see the trustee of the SEI Master Trust take responsibility for the Atlas Master Trust.

Founded by Capita in 2015, the Atlas Master Trust has over 110,000 members, while the combined assets under management of the SEI and Atlas Master Trusts totalled around £2bn, as at the end of September.

SEI will bring on three Capita employees to SEI’s Institutional Group and one of the Atlas trustees to the SEI Trustee Group.

“As we continue to identify strategic opportunities to expand our global footprint and boost our offerings, we believe this acquisition supports SEI’s growth,” commented SEI Institutional Group head, Paul Klauder.

“Investing in our people and technology has been at SEI’s core for more than a half-century, and adding the Atlas Master Trust will reinforce that foundation while significantly increasing our competitive presence in the UK.”

Capita Pension Solutions managing director, Stuart Heatley, added: “We are delighted to extend our long-standing relationship with SEI. Over the last year, we have been carrying out a strategic review of our pensions business to ensure we are delivering best-in-class products and services to our clients.

“The decision to simplify Capita Pension Solutions and sell our Atlas Master Trust enables us to focus on our market-leading pensions administration and consulting offering, and it positions us for further growth as the market continues to expand.

“It supports our commitment to working as a partner to key providers of UK DC and defined benefit pensions. We feel this is the right strategic decision for our business, as well as the best outcome for our members and clients.”

Also commenting on the announcement, Hymans Robertson partner, Michael Ambery, said: “The announcement about SEI’s purchase of Atlas is positive news. We have anticipated a consolidation of master trust providers in order to reach a suitable size and scale.

“This is the second headline consolidation of master trust providers this year and a movement of well over £1bn to SEI in the purchase of Atlas. It will give SEI considerably more scale and the ability to refocus proposition and direction to continue to grow both assets under management and employers.

“The purchase was natural in the fact that Capita is the underlying administrator for both SEI and Atlas Master Trust. What is less natural is the movement of investments for members and the combination of two master trust boards and operating models into one.

“However, we understand that this will be at no detriment to members as the transition of member investments and cost will be borne by SEI as part of the purchase. We do see that members and employers associated with Atlas, and to an extent with SEI, will want to ensure they know what this consolidation means for their day-to-day engagement and will want to be comfortable that the new master trust meets their needs for provision of services.

“Given current market activity, combined with the fact that providers are searching for these economies of scale, further consolidation is likely and there will be many more consolidations in the coming months.”

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