Business hands holding puzzle pieces (Image: Shutterstock)

Less than a month ahead of Tax Day, two tax-focused independent broker-dealers are coming together. Blucora — the parent company of the IBD H.D. Vest and the software maker TaxAct — is buying 1st Global for about $180 million in stock. Both are based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

With 1st Global’s 850 advisors and $18 billion in client assets, the combined entity should have close to 4,500 advisors and $60 billion in total assets, Blucora says.

The deal comes about 3 1/2 years after Blucora announced plans to buy HD Vest, which had 4,500 FAs with $36 billion in assets at the time.  

“Blucora dominates the tax preparer/advisor market space, [and] they further increase their dominance with the purchase of 1st Global,” said IBD recruiter Jon Henschen. 

“1st Global was originally a spin off from HD Vest, with Tony Batman founding the firm with the same focus of tax preparers as HD Vest but focusing on having higher average-production-per-advisor requirements than HD Vest,” he explained.

In the fall of 2015, “Blucora … offered an unusually attractive purchase price to HD Vest (200% of trailing revenue), so an unusually attractive price could be the case again — although broker-dealer prices have come down since the time of the Blucora-HD Vest purchase,” Henschen added. 

Last week, 1st Global released the results of its advisor satisfaction survey, which found that more than 97% are pleased with its service and support and would recommend affiliating with 1st Global to another FA or CPA.