SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
SCHEDULE 14A INFORMATION
PROXY STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 14(a)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
(Amendment No. )
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6333 North Accompaniment Highway 161, 4th Floor
Irving, Texas 75038
To My Fellow Shareholders,
2017 was a able year for Blucora, and I am actual appreciative of all that our accession has achieved. As you will see in our Proxy Statement, we are allurement stockholders for approval on important proposals that are key to our success activity forward, such as the approval of our new abiding allurement plan and an alteration to our Certificate of Incorporation that allows our Board to set the admeasurement of the Board amid six and 15 directors, and I ask for your vote “FOR” anniversary of the proposals in the Proxy.
Before we get to the detail of the Proxy, I capital to accord you some detail about our success in 2017 and why we accept we accept becoming the assurance of your vote in favor of our election measures. In my letter aftermost year, I aggregate my acceptance that we were able-bodied positioned to abide our drive into 2017. I’m admiring to say that we did aloof that, and acclaimed a alternation of absorbing milestones, including:
Growing acquirement by 12%, net assets per allotment by 137%, and non-GAAP EPS* by 38%;
Surpassing our net advantage ambition by advantageous bottomward added than $90 actor in debt and abbreviation our net advantage to 2.8 times (vs. 4.0x at end of 2016 and 6.3x at time of the HD Vest acquisition);
Growing complete HD Vest assets beneath administration, or AUA, by 14% to $44 billion and advising assets beneath management, or AUM, by 21% to $12.5 billion – both almanac levels; and
Achieving our 20 th afterwards year of acquirement advance at TaxAct, growing 15%.
We accomplished these absorbing after-effects acknowledgment in ample allotment to the awful focused Four Ds action we accustomed in 2016 to adviser us advanced afterwards the HD Vest acquisition. That action focused our accession on:
Divesting our bequest businesses in Infospace and Monoprice (achieved 2016);
De-levering and abbreviation our net advantage adjustment from 6.3x to at atomic 3x (achieved 2017);
Delivering on our banking commitments (ongoing); and
Developing abiding business affairs to drive advance and aerate bulk (ongoing).
Achieving our net advantage or ‘de-lever’ ambition in 2017 followed our ‘divest’ accomplishment in 2016 back we awash Infospace and Monoprice. While we accept been ‘driving’ advance and ‘delivering’ on our banking commitments, we accede those to be a connected focus. This enabled us to about-face our absorption in 2017 to acutely laying out our abiding eyes and action for the approaching – unlocking abiding actor bulk conception by bigger confined our targeted barter and advisors.
Like every able advance strategy, we began by establishing the bulk behavior that set the anatomy of our abiding strategy. We accept that taxes are the complete key to bigger outcomes, back they are such a ample bulk and optimizing taxes charge be added than a once-a-year event. Yet today bodies abide awfully underserved – generally at the peril of their banking futures. The tax alertness industry focuses consumers on maximizing the refund. This acknowledging admission ignores what should be the best important goals of aspersing taxes, accretion banknote flows and enabling bigger connected appellation after-tax outcomes, so bodies can do added in their lives. On top of this acknowledging and anachronous approach, the all-embracing abundance administering industry about ignores taxes and refers audience to accession annual provider back there is a tax consideration. These approaches accept larboard consumers after a holistic annual admission to their banking approaching … until now.
Blucora bridges the gap amid tax and abundance management. We accept a different befalling afore us to agitate these decades-long anachronous approaches. We can advantage the advice artlessly generated by filing taxes to accredit people, over their banking lives, to accomplish their goals, apprehension opportunities their admiral would contrarily miss. Make no mistake, Blucora is arch the abutting above accession in banking management, maximizing after-tax risk-adjusted banking allotment – which is what all of us will alive off of – in absoluteness – in our retirement.
After the success of 2017, and as we focus on our eyes of unlocking abiding bulk for shareholders and barter alike, we will focus our 2018 efforts on our new cardinal plan. Architecture on the Four D’s approach, our new cardinal pillars band up with ABCD.
A – Advance Growth. We will assassinate on our cogent amoebic advance opportunities, actualize bright aggressive adverse and bulk in anniversary business, and abduction the synergies that abide amid the two.
B – Build Tax-Smart Leadership. We are competitively positioned – at the circle of tax and abundance administering – to bear bigger outcomes to customers.
C – Actualize One Blucora. We are no best a captivation accession of different businesses. We are one accession focused on administering our ability and active efficiencies anchored in a accepted culture. We are on our way to architecture a high-performance organization, as allotment of this culture.
D – Bear Results. While we accept acquired from the Four D’s, we will absorb our aciculate focus on carrying on our commitments to shareholders, barter and advisors.
These pillars will adviser us as we assignment to advance advance in 2018. They will additionally adviser how we attending to abound the two segments of our business. As I’ve mentioned, we accept our approaching sits at the circle of the tax and abundance administering – and that’s area our advance befalling is. We’ve alone aching the apparent on our opportunity, with so abundant added we can do. This anticipation makes us all aflame about the approaching we can create.
HD Vest is a able business with what we accept to be a all-inclusive bulk of amoebic advance opportunities on the horizon. And as the bigger broker-dealer focused on tax-smart investing, we accept a aggressive advantage in the marketplace. We’ve leveraged this advantage to abound the business, and I’m appreciative of the advance we fabricated in 2017.
From a achievement standpoint, HD Vest set a cardinal of annal in 2017. Complete assets beneath administering added 14% year-over-year to $44 billion – a new record. Advising assets beneath administering were up 21% year-over-year to $12.5 billion – additionally a new record. Net inflows into AUM were about $800 actor in 2017, and AUM as a percent of AUA added to 28.4%, up about 150 abject credibility from the year ago division and additionally hitting a high-water mark.
Last year, as allotment of our about-face to focus on adviser abundance rather than complete cardinal of advisors, we began application predictive models in adviser recruitment. This enabled us to bigger analyze which tax professionals are best acceptable to be acknowledged as HD Vest abundance administering advisors. Additionally, we started a cardinal and targeted abridgement of non-engaged admiral who annual for about no audience and assets. This process, which has resulted in the abridgement of about 300 advisors, charcoal an advancing one as we optimize our adviser base.
2017 additionally saw abundant advance in our alteration to a new allowance partner, which we apprehend to complete by the third division of 2018. We apprehend this will be a abundant win for end-clients, admiral and Blucora. This change will accredit us to accomplish bigger abduction of absorption assets in a ascent amount cycle, be able to capitalize on new capabilities such as highly-integrated business processing, abstracts accession and a world-class applicant portal, and we’ll accept the befalling to accompany direct-to-fund (DTF) assets absolutely on our belvedere over time. In total, we apprehend the new allowance adjustment to be accretive to the tune of $60-100 actor or added in articulation assets over 10 years, which can both bead to the basal band as able-bodied as accredit dispatch in growth.
As we attending at the tax ancillary of our business in 2017, we invested in our belvedere and capabilities to accommodate added abiding bulk for our customers. We are enabling speed, ability and advance through advance in our technology, basement and people. In 2017, we fabricated abundant strides in these efforts by:
Migrating IT basement to the cloud;
Upgrading our operations and abutment technology;
Growing investments in data-driven technologies, accoutrement and platforms to personalize and optimize, as able-bodied as actuality acute about cybersecurity; and
Enhancing our abstracts and analytics, while convalescent business effectiveness.
TaxAct accomplished the year with acquirement of $160.9 million, up 15% against aftermost year and these investments will advice lay the background for connected approaching growth.
In accession to advance for growth, we’re focused on abating assemblage drive in this business by absorption on monetized units, with efforts in four key areas:
Targeting aerial abeyant segments in the growing Digital DIY market, activated through new business and bigger filer experiences;
Transparent pricing, with bankable price-value advantages against the beyond players; and
Diversifying acquirement by extending our accord with filers, leveraging the acumen we can gain, with consent, from the tax anatomy – through ally as able-bodied as by leveraging our HD Vest unit.
As I mentioned earlier, Blucora abnormally sits at the circle of tax and abundance management. To that end, we accept fabricated cogent strides in creating a cross-serve agent aural the TaxAct acquaintance for the annual of our clients. We launched the BluPrint™ banking assessment, developed in affiliation with HD Vest, which turns insights from a tax acknowledgment into actionable recommendations advised to advance the filers’ banking situation. We booty dozens of abstracts credibility aural the 1040 to action banking insights and suggestions, all focused on allowance barter save on their taxes, abate their debt burdens and advance their approaching banking health. We accept we can advice the boilerplate U.S. filer save bags of dollars with the insights and solutions we provide. This year, and we accept this is alone the beginning, we enabled our barter to admission artefact partnerships area they could abate their taxes, abate apprentice debt or get a bigger accord on customer debt, administer accident through abacus activity allowance at a aggressive amount or accomplish added absorption on their money through a high-yield drop account.
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