Blucora Board Sends Letter to Stockholders
Refreshed Board Has Taken Decisive Steps to Drive Long-Term Shareholder Value and Continues to Evaluate Strategic Options
Stockholders Urged to Vote “FOR” ALL of Blucora’s Highly Qualified Directors on the BLUE Proxy Card
The text of the letter is as follows:
To our stockholders:
I am writing on behalf of the Blucora Board of Directors to encourage you to vote “FOR” ALL incumbent directors on the BLUE proxy card at the upcoming annual meeting of stockholders, to be held this
At this year’s meeting,
The Board has been an agent of change and has taken decisive steps to drive long-term stockholder value.
- Shifted from a marketing agency model to in-house marketing, building a 15+ person team to retain and build knowledge base and continuity over time;
- Sourced and implemented a new marketing technology stack;
- Lowered federal tax return pricing for the first time since at least 2016, embracing our value positioning and shifting from what was an unsustainable model;
- Hired a skilled partnership team, implementing a ten-fold increase in new partnerships heading into 2020 tax season compared to 2019; and
- Executed on the launch of the hybrid-assist tax preparation offering, enabling the business to enjoy higher revenue per customer and enabling it to more effectively serve new customers transitioning to the DIY segment of our market.
Within our wealth management business, Avantax, we:
- Hired a new product management team to drive a roadmap of critical technology enhancements;
- Executed on alignment of advisory pricing models, creating a unified pricing structure for all financial professionals across our business;
- Instituted a regional support model to enhance support by moving it closer to the financial professionals;
- Instituted a Top 100 Financial Professional support program, to engage more intensely with those financial professionals with more complex support requirements;
- Renegotiated and completed the HKFS acquisition at a lower purchase price, making it more accretive and allowing the Company to add the broad benefits of a captive tax-focused registered investment advisor to the business;
- Launched the Retirement Planning Service across all of Avantax, scaling up the offering acquired as part of HKFS;
- Hired a new marketing leader with a detailed plan for executing on team build-out focusing on supporting the acceleration of our financial professionals’ business growth;
- Acquired Guidevine, a technology solution to help match interested wealth management customers with our financial professionals, simplifying the path from lead generation to client conversion; and
- Added more than 200 new financial professionals in 2020 (excluding attrition), and continued our recruiting efforts in 2021, onboarding two new significant wealth managers just in the last month:
Legacy Capital Advisors, LLCand Maestro Wealth Advisors, with $126 millionand $133 millionin client assets as of January 2021, respectively.
At the corporate level, where we have also undergone substantial change, we:
- Adjusted the leadership structure – most notably consolidating operations within the business units and combining software efforts under one leader,
Curtis Campbell, and wealth management efforts under one leader, Todd Mackay;
- Rolled out a culture initiative to ensure one common sense of purpose;
- Elevated and more broadly deployed a program management function to support improved execution;
- Aligned evaluation and compensation approaches to goal achievement and demonstrating desired cultural attributes;
- Separated the CIO and CTO teams to bolster technology efforts;
- Increased investment in technology teams to more effectively meet the needs of financial professionals, customers and employees;
- Built a new procurement organization with new online tools to streamline purchasing decisions and approvals;
- Built an in-house information security team and, with Board oversight, developed a data security roadmap on which team has been executing; and
- Committed to testing the highest value potential crossover benefits between our businesses, including having dedicated teams and investments focus on each.
These actions have made a meaningful difference.
In the six months ended on Friday, our stock has appreciated 64%, more than three times the appreciation in major market indexes. The results of these actions are also evident through key performance indicators and financial metrics in the business:
* Source: Company data
This Board has acted decisively, both refreshing itself and overseeing the Company, and is committed to continuing to evaluate the business configuration, potential improvements and other options to maximize value.
Since March of last year, Blucora’s diverse Board has added four new independent directors, who bring additional, highly relevant experience in tax, wealth management, strategy, business transformations, data analytics and consumer marketing. In addition to our active oversight of the Company’s strategy, Blucora’s refreshed Board continues to evaluate all strategic options available to the Company in close consultation with independent financial advisors. We remain open to any option that maximizes value.
Under the leadership of the current Board and management team,
We appreciate your ownership of
We ask you to please vote “FOR” ALL of Blucora’s incumbent directors on the BLUE proxy card.
Very truly yours,
CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Noteworthy Third-Party Views that Support Blucora’s Board of Directors and the Company’s Transformation Strategy1
- “[W]e ultimately find the Dissident platform is significantly weighed down by a hit-or-miss strategic plan and a slate of candidates who, for a variety of reasons, do not clearly offer what we consider to be a superior alternative to the status quo. As a result, … we do not believe there is sufficient cause to directly support the Ancora solicitation at this time.”
– Glass Lewis (a leading independent proxy advisory firm)
- “We believe the mix of assets here have been rationalized more cohesively than in the past and see the emergence of the online assisted income tax category as playing right into the hands of BCOR.”
- “We think it may have gone unnoticed how quickly the team acted to replace, reorganize and strengthen the bench, and while we are always hesitant to discuss 'culture’ improvements, the quality of the team seems to have filtered down the ranks.”
- “We have spent a considerable amount of time with the current Avantax leadership team. They listen to us and are always interested in our feedback. Though change is never easy, we have all the confidence in the world that this group is the right group to lead us into the future.”
- “Avantax is defining the future of holistic financial planning. Their approach to tax-smart investment management puts them light years ahead of traditional advisors.”
More information is available at VoteBlucora.com.
Any vote on Ancora’s proxy card risks the unintended consequence that four of our highly qualified current directors are replaced by Ancora’s nominees—three of whom are inexperienced and one of whom has both significant tone-at-the-top issues, having made improper pay-to-play campaign contributions, and Clayton Act issues prohibiting him from lawfully serving on Blucora’s Board, according to a report by the Honorable
Please Vote BLUE TODAY to Sustain the Important Progress Being Made at
If you are a stockholder and have questions, need assistance in voting your shares, or wish to change a prior vote, please contact:
Brokers and Banks Call Collect: (212) 269-5550
All Others Call Toll-Free: (866) 388-7535
REMEMBER: Simply discard any white proxy card you may receive from Ancora. Blucora’s Board does not endorse any of Ancora’s nominees, and we urge you NOT to submit any vote using Ancora’s white proxy card, even as a protest vote. Voting to “WITHHOLD” with respect to any of Ancora’s nominees on a white proxy card sent to you by Ancora is not the same as voting “FOR” the Board’s nominees on the BLUE proxy card because a vote to “WITHHOLD” with respect to any of Ancora’s nominees on its white proxy card will revoke any BLUE proxy you may have previously submitted.
Important Additional Information and Where to Find It
1 Permission to use these quotes was neither sought nor obtained. Such third-party statements should not be viewed as indicating the support of such third parties for the views expressed in this communication.
Source: Blucora, Inc.