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HD Vest’s New Parent Chooses Financial Guard to Power Robo

December 6, 2016

[Photo:  Robo Advisor - by Peter Yang /]


Blucora, the technology company that acquired tax-centric broker/dealer H.D. Vest last year, has partnered with Legg Mason’s Financial Guard to provide automated advisory services to its tax preparation software customers. TaxAct customers will have the first go at the robo platform, and the company will introduce the platform to some 4,500 H.D. Vest advisors next year.


This tax season, TaxAct will offer filers a personalized financial assessment based on their tax situation. Through Financial Guard, users will then be able to open automated advisory accounts for IRAs and taxable investment accounts.


John Clendening, president and CEO of Blucora, said the firm’s advisors haven’t expressed concerns that the do-it-yourself offering would be competitive. Rather, Clendening believes it will be incremental.


He also expects it to be a lead generation opportunity for advisors. TaxAct currently has 5 million customers.


“If you look at the folks who choose [do-it-yourself] initially, it’s sort of a nursery, if you will, for H.D. Vest advisors,” he said. “What I mean by that is, you have a large pool of folks that, over time, are going to see their needs get more complex.


“They realize, ‘My financial situation got a little more complex here. I’d like to work with an advisor, an expert that I can talk with, in-person ideally.’”


And once the technology is made available to H.D. Vest advisors, it will allow them to serve smaller clients that they wouldn’t otherwise serve because they weren’t profitable.