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HD Vest CEO Bob Oros to leave in two weeks

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Bob Oros, the CEO of independent broker-dealer HD Vest, is departing the firm on Nov. 15, in order to help with a close relative's health difficulties, according to the firm.

Todd Mackay, the current executive vice president of TaxAct, the tax software arm of HD Vest’s parent company, Blucora, will step in as the interim CEO of HD Vest, the firm says. Oros will remain with the firm in a consulting role until March 2019, while the search for a replacement is underway.

“I’m glad Bob’s been with us,” said John Clendening, CEO of Blucora, in an earnings call with investors. He adds: “It’s a bit of a disappointment. But frankly, people can come and go, and we’ll be just fine with this departure.”

Oros will turn his immediate focus to attending to a close family member who has recently learned of significant health challenges, according to a spokeswoman at HD Vest.

Oros has been with the firm for less than two years, having originally joined in Jan. 2017 from head of the RIA segment of Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions, where he spent five years. Since his arrival, he has been responsible for carrying out dramatic changes at HD Vest, including a new minimum for advisors’ client asset levels.

In the new requirements, Oros mandated that planners manage $1 million in assets by May, and at least $2.5 million in AUA by the beginning of 2019 — policies that have pushed advisor head count to 3,687, down 740 since the first quarter of 2017, according to the firm’s third quarter earnings.

Additionally, Oros oversaw a change in clearing firms from Wells Fargo to Fidelity. Assets officially transferred over to Fidelity on Sep. 23, Clendening said on the earnings call.

“The magnitude of the benefits is significant and rightly dominated the team’s focus the past several months.” he said on the call.

The firm expects the new clearing platform to generate around $120 million in profit to HD Vest over a 10-year period, according to Clendening.

New technology from the transition includes new planning software, eMoney, the Envestnet platform for managing portfolios, VestStrategist, an account program for high-net-worth clients, and VestAccess, a low-fee program intended for smaller accounts.

This quarter, HD Vest revenue rose 6% year-over-year to $91.9 million. Advisory assets rose 13% to $13.5 billion.

Blucora’s total revenue, which includes TaxAct and HD Vest, went up 6% from the year-ago period to $95.4 million.

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