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First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund Selected for SEI's 401(k) Program

SEI Opens Its Asset-Management Architecture to Third-Party Funds and Includes The First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund Based on Historical Performance, Style Purity, and Management

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc., announced today that the First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund has been selected as one of four funds to be offered in the small-cap growth-style space of SEI Investments' 401(k) program.

This is the first time that SEI has opened its asset-management architecture to include select third-party funds. The Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund was chosen based on its consistency of performance, style purity, and management team, according to SEI. It was also selected because it is both supplementary and complementary to the SEI fund offering, a company spokesperson said.

SEI's 401(k) program, which includes 30 exclusive funds, is marketed directly to large corporations, targeting plans with $50 million to $75 million in assets. It is also sold, as a bundled product, through SEI's Advisor Network, targeting plans around $10 million.

"The selection of our Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund for SEI's program is an exciting opportunity and represents another validation of our investment processes and capabilities from a leader in the investment business," said Mark Jordahl, chief investment officer of U.S. Bancorp Asset Management.

"SEI is pleased to be offering additional choice to participants and plan sponsors and delighted to begin a new alliance with a prestigious asset management firm like U.S. Bancorp Asset Management," said Alison Saunders, head of SEI's 401(k) program.

About the First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund

The First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund had assets of more than $355 million (all share classes) as of June 30, 2003. With a 16.94 percent return for the trailing five years ended June 30, 2003, the fund's Y-class shares ranked sixth against a total of 236 funds categorized as small-cap growth funds by Lipper. This put the Y-class shares in the third percentile versus other funds in Lipper's small-cap growth category.

"We believe the recent and past success of the Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund can be attributed to sound bottom-up fundamental and valuation analysis in conjunction with the identification of top-down themes within the overall economy and market," said David Chalupnik, head of equities at U.S. Bancorp Asset Management.

Joe Frohna, CPA, CFA, has managed the Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund since September 1997. The fund is co-managed by Brian Bies, CFA.

The investment universe of the Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund includes companies with market capitalizations in the range of companies in the Russell 2000 Index (approximately $8 million to $1.8 billion), although it tends to have a market capitalization generally lower than the average small-cap growth fund, according to Portfolio Manager Joe Frohna.

Performance of the First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund as of June 30, 2003, was as follows:

     Small Cap Growth Funds                                           Since
     Fund/Benchmark                1-Year     3-Year      5-Year   Inception
                                                                   (8/1/1995)
     Small Cap Growth
      Opportunities Fund* (Y)        9.15     -4.30       16.94        23.65
     Russell 2000 Growth Index       0.69    -16.66       -4.25         1.42
     Lipper Average                 -1.29    -15.33        0.02         5.48
     Lipper % Ranking Against
      Small-Cap Growth Funds          9th      11th         3rd          2nd
     Number of Funds                  460       340         236           94

     Small Cap Growth
      Opportunities Fund* (A)        8.88     -4.54       16.63        23.33
     Russell 2000 Growth Index       0.69    -16.66       -4.25         1.42
     Lipper Average                 -1.29    -15.33        0.02         5.48
     Lipper % Ranking Against
      Small-Cap Growth Funds          9th      13th         3rd          3rd
     Number of Funds                  460       340         236           94

Past performance does not guarantee future results. The principal value of an investment and investment return will fluctuate so that an investor's shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Lipper Analytical Services, Inc. is an independent mutual fund research and rating service. Each Lipper Average represents a universe of funds with similar investment objectives. Rankings for the periods shown are based on fund total returns with dividends and distributions reinvested and do not reflect sales charges.

The Russell 2000 Growth Index is an unmanaged index that measures the performance of those companies in the Russell 2000 Index with higher price-to-book ratios and higher forecasted growth values. You cannot invest directly in an index.

The 1999 returns of the First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund were higher due in substantial part to its strategy of investing in IPOs in a period favorable for IPO investing. Of course, such favorable returns involve accepting the risk of volatility, and there is no assurance that the fund's future investment in IPOs will have the same effect on performance as it did in 1999. Stocks of micro-capitalization companies involve substantial risk. These stocks historically have experienced greater price volatility than stocks of larger companies, and they may be expected to do so in the future.

On 12/12/02, the fund changed its main investment strategy such that it was permitted to invest in securities of companies with market capitalization within the range of companies in the Russell 2000 Index at the time of purchase. Previously, the fund invested primarily in companies with market capitalizations of less than $500 million at the time of purchase. On 9/24/01, the fund became successor by merger to the Firstar MicroCap Fund, a series of Firstar Funds, Inc. Prior to the merger, the First American fund had no assets or liabilities. Performance presented prior to 9/24/01 represents that of the Firstar MicroCap Fund.

About U.S. Bancorp Asset Management

U.S. Bancorp Asset Management is a national investment firm that serves as the registered investment advisor to First American Funds and provides customized portfolio management to private clients, corporations, public entitites, nonprofit organizations, and other institutions. The firm is the 37th-largest asset manager domiciled in the United Sates and one of the nation's leading money managers to institutions and individuals, with more than $123 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2003. It is a performance-driven, independent-style firm, backed by the sources and stability of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), the eighth-largest* holding company in the United States, with assets of $195 billion as of June 30, 2003.

About SEI

SEI Investments (Nasdaq: SEIC) is a leading global provider of asset management and investment technology solutions. The company's innovative solutions help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and affluent families create and manage wealth. As of the period ending June 30, 2003, SEI administers $235 billion in mutual fund and pooled assets, manages more than $85 billion in assets, processes almost $50 trillion of investment transactions annually, and operates 21 offices in 10 countries. For more information, visit www.seic.com .

* As of December 31, 2002

For a prospectus containing more complete information on First American Funds, including investment policies, risks, fees, and expenses, please contact your investment professional, call First American Funds Investor Services at 800.677.FUND, or visit firstamericanfunds.com . Please read the prospectus carefully before you invest or send money.

Mutual fund investing involves risk; principal loss is possible.

Investment products, including shares of mutual funds, are not obligations of, or guaranteed by, any bank, including U.S. Bank or any U.S. Bancorp affiliate, nor are they insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, or any other agency. An investment in such products involves investment risk, including possible loss of principal.

U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc., serves as the investment advisor to First American Funds. First American Funds are distributed by Quasar Distributors, LLC, an affiliate of the investment advisor.

SOURCE U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding U.S. Bancorp's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.



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