Blucora Announces Acquisition of HK Financial Services

Blucora, an Irving, Texas, wealth management provider focusing on tax strategies, has announced its acquisition of registered investment advisor HK Financial Services (HKFS) for about $160 million in stock.

The transaction, which adds $4.4 billion in client assets to Blucora, is expected to close by March 31.

HK Financial Services is an affiliate of Dubuque, Iowa-based Honkamp Krueger & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $80.2 million), an IPA 100 firm. HKFS partners with 75 CPA firms to provide wealth management services to 4,100 clients. The firms are expected to benefit from software called Tax-Smart Investing to better serve clients and ultimately, increase revenue. HKFS employs about 100 people, 70 of whom work in Dubuque.

Louie Rosalez, president of HKFS, says, “Blucora embodies our mission to take a holistic approach to serving our clients’ wealth management needs, and is the ideal partner for HKFS.”

HKFS offers asset management, business retirement planning and insurance services. Blucora plans to augment these services with estate planning and trusts.

Blucora president and CEO John Clendening says the acquisition will give CPA firms, advisors and clients additional capabilities and choices, while Blucora’s Avantax Wealth Management advisors get new opportunities for growth, among other advantages. As part of its rationale for the acquisition, Blucora points to HKFS’ retirement plan services for small-business clients.

The arrangement comes nearly a year after Blucora announced it would buy 1st Global for about $180 million in stock. Since then, Blucora, the parent company of HD Vest and the software maker TaxAct, brought together HD Vest and 1st Global wealth management divisions and rebranded them as Avantax Wealth Management, with a focus on tax-planning advice.

Blucora anticipates that HKFS will operate as a third division of Blucora, in addition to Avantax Wealth Management and TaxAct.

IPA INSIDER: January 2020 News

Listed below are the Top 10 most-read stories on the INSIDE Public Accounting blog for the month of January.

  1. Big 4’s Massive Technology Investments May Reinvent Accounting
  2. Wall Einhorn & Chernitzer Announces New Leader Upon Retirement of Marty Einhorn
  3. Partners Can Be Complacent And Ego-Driven, But Their Success = Firm Success
  4. Ex-KPMG Partner, Inspector Suspended by SEC
  5. PKF O’Connor Davies Merges in Dworken Hillman LaMorte & Sterczala
  6. KPMG UK’s Most Senior Female Partner Quits
  7. BKD Moves Its New York Office to Midtown Manhattan
  8. MBAF Expands Tax & Accounting Practice With Addition Of Kramer & Associates
  9. HW&Co. Names New CEO and Merges In Finkler & Company
  10. Regulators Eye Accounting, Audit Changes for 2020

Marcum Appoints Gary Sturisky to Lead National Advisory Practice, Admits 8 New Partners

Gary Sturisky

New York-based Marcum (FY18 net revenue of $549.7 million) announced that Gary Sturisky has been appointed to lead the firm’s national advisory practice. In addition, eight new partners have been admitted to the firm.

The national advisory practice encompasses strategic consulting services across all Marcum service lines and industry groups.

Sturisky is responsible for the integration of all non-compliance consulting services firmwide. He heads a senior leadership team representing valuation, forensic and litigation services; tax advisory services; financial advisory services; transaction and integration advisory services; managed services; and technology consulting.

Prior to his Marcum appointment, Sturisky was a senior partner and the global private equity advisory leader at a Big 4 accounting firm.

Also, Jimmy Pappas joined Marcum and was admitted as partner and national leader of forensic advisory services. Based in Boston, Pappas advises legal counsel, management and boards of directors on accounting, internal control and complex financial matters related to internal investigations, civil and criminal litigation, and corporate governance. He also testifies before the SEC in accounting, fraud and corruption, and economic damages matters.

Additionally, the following new partners have been admitted in six Marcum regions:

  • Mary Antonetti – tax and business services, New Haven, Conn.
  • Sara Carlson – technical review and quality control group, Chicago
  • Benjamin Dailey – tax and business services, Portland, Maine
  • Stanley W. Farmer ­– assurance services, Houston
  • Qiqi Wei – assurance services, San Francisco
  • Taylor West – advisory services, Houston
  • Qasim Zaidi – assurance services, Philadelphia

More news from Marcum

Weaver Adds Jordan Phelps as First CFO

Jordan Phelps

Jordan Phelps

Houston-based Weaver (FY19 net revenue of $141 million) has announced that Jordan Phelps has joined the firm as its first CFO.

Phelps, who will initially be based in Weaver’s Dallas office, will oversee finance and accounting, including financial analyses, forecasting, budgeting and financial reporting.

“As Weaver continues its recent fast growth, having a dedicated CFO will enable us to plan and work more efficiently,” said CEO and MP John Mackel. “Jordan Phelps has the skills and experience to support this growth, improve productivity, manage risks and take our financial planning to the next level.”

Phelps began his career in the assurance practice at Grant Thornton. He has held various senior financial leadership roles for fast-growth national companies, managing domestic and international operations, fostering business growth and maximizing cash flow through financial management, cost controls, internal controls and efficiency improvements.

More news from Weaver

Marcum Opens Downtown Cleveland Office

Following its merger with Cleveland-based Skoda Minotti (FY18 net revenue of $59.4 million), New York-based Marcum (FY18 net revenue of $549.7 million) recently opened a new downtown Cleveland office at Fifth Third Center on 600 Superior Ave.

The merger added nearly 200 professionals and three offices, two of which are located in northeast Ohio. The firm now has three Ohio offices: downtown Cleveland, Mayfield Village and Akron. The expansion into downtown Cleveland was planned prior to the two firms merging.

“Our clients continue to rely on us as a key business partner to fuel their growth and success. As these client relationships expand, our firm continues to grow as a result,” says Gregory Skoda, senior partner. “Our expansion into downtown Cleveland is a milestone for us – it puts our professionals within close proximity of many downtown clients, which helps us serve them more effectively and it underscores our commitment to strengthening our region as a whole.”

OMP of the new office, Jonathan Shoop, says, “In addition to servicing clients more effectively, our new downtown location will allow us to grow our robust events program as well as strengthen our ability to attract, recruit and retain top talent – especially among the new generation of professionals in their 20s and 30s.”

Nearly 30 employees from existing Marcum offices in the region have relocated to the new downtown Cleveland location and an additional 20 new hires are planned.

More news from Marcum

KROST Announces Merger with BPE&H

Pasadena, Calif.-based KROST (FY18 net revenue of $33.8 million) has merged in BPE&H of Woodland Hills, Calif.

Seven principals will join the leadership team at KROST, including Scott Eisner, Martin Belak-Berger, Bob Price, Phil D’Amico, Scott Gilmore and founding BPE&H principals Jerry Block and Jane Plant. The merger adds 30 employees, expanding KROST to 200 team members and increasing its presence in the thriving Woodland Hills area.

The former BPE&H staff will remain at their existing office until next summer when staff from the two offices – KROST also operates an office in Woodland Hills – will move into a new space together.

“Joining with KROST makes sense from a resource standpoint. We now have in-house recruiting and other corporate support systems to alleviate workload on our leadership so we can spend more time with our clients. The firm’s industry task forces are also a great complement to our manufacturing and real estate expertise,” says Belak-Berger.

KROST MP Greg Kniss says, “Merging with BPE&H made sense for us on several levels. Their mission and vision, as well as dedication to superior customer service, resonates with our core values and the principles that we stand by here at KROST. Our tax, accounting and advisory teams will benefit from the added resources; all of which will allow us to continue to support our clients.”

More news from KROST

Moore North America Launches U.S. National Tax Office

The accounting firm association, Moore North America (Moore NA), has collaborated with member firms to launch a U.S. national tax office.

The office will provide members and their clients with access to deeper tax knowledge across multiple tax specialty areas. It is comprised of tax partners and senior-level staff that will work collaboratively with Moore member firms and shared clients.

“In today’s environment, where our clients are facing change faster than ever before, we want to collaborate with Moore member firms to provide responsive, in-depth expertise that differentiates us,” says Moore Global CEO Anton Colella.

San Ramon-based Armanino LLP (FY18 net revenue of $267.2 million) was the driving force behind this initiative, Moore NA announced. St. Louis-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY18 net revenue of $50 million) and Maple Grove, Minn.-based Global Tax Network US (FY18 net revenue of $15.4 million) have provided tax professionals in property tax and expat tax services, respectively, to assist members. The office expects to grow in resources and incorporate more members as the program continues.

“Since Moore members already collaborate on a regular basis, the office is meant to supplement those efforts,” says Moore NA CEO Tony Szczepaniak. “We hope the addition of these resources can help our members continue to grow and thrive alongside their clients.”

In addition to collaboration, the office seeks to increase communication and education among members. Through tax alerts, events and webinars, the office provides members with the increased confidence that no matter what issues or questions clients are facing, they have the answers and resources readily available.

The regular communications will provide expanded insights into emerging legislation, including strategic tax opportunities across state, national and international jurisdictions and the impact of new tax pronouncements.

Moore NA is one of eight regional members of Moore Global Network Limited.

More news from Moore NA

IPA Launches 2020 Survey Focused on Employee Transformation and Development


“Transforming while performing” is the mantra of many firms today, ensuring current performance while re-tooling and re-engineering the firm for the future. “Transformation” refers to many areas of business, including employees, technology, business model, business processes, partner activities, governance, pricing models, new performance metrics and even definitions of success. This month, we begin capturing information on employee transformation.

Throughout the year, INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) will be collecting and reporting on information on the theme of Firm Transformations. This month’s focus is on employee transformation and development. Please consider taking the survey, which should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

All survey participants will receive a complimentary copy of the results when published. The survey is open from Jan. 23 through Feb. 21.



Yount Hyde and Barbour Expands Construction Practice with Merger

Winchester, Va.-based Yount Hyde & Barbour (FY18 net revenue of $24.9 million) has merged in Woodcock & Associates of Fredericksburg, Va.

Scott Moulden, MP of Yount Hyde & Barbour (YHB), says in a statement that Woodcock & Associates has been an invaluable resource to its construction industry clients since its founding in 2000. “We expect the Woodcock team’s capabilities to enhance our already rapidly expanding construction industry niche.”

Woodcock provides a comprehensive range of assurance, outsourced CFO services and management advisory services.

“Both YHB and Woodcock have had a friendly relationship for many years. We knew the quality of work and relational approach they took to delivering client service,” says MP and president Jeanette Woodcock. “In addition, YHB has a large multi-regional presence with offices spread throughout, allowing us access to new markets. This provides our team with additional resources and specializations, which we see as a huge combined strength from the merger.”

The merger will make the Fredericksburg office YHB’s eighth location in Virginia. The deal will add 12 professional staff to YHB.

More news from Yount Hyde & Barbour

UHY Expands in Northeast With Acquisition of Pattison Koskey Howe and Bucci

Chicago-based UHY LLP and UHY Advisors Inc. (FY17 net revenue of $140.8 million) has announced they will expand their presence in the Northeast region with the merger of Pattison Koskey Howe and Bucci (PKHB), which operated six offices in the Hudson Valley area of New York.

The deal adds three partners, six principals and approximately 50 additional professionals and administrative staff to UHY.

The merger developed over several years through the firms’ collaboration serving their respective clients. Their combined expertise will create new business opportunities in the Hudson Valley with the addition of three of the PKHB offices in Hudson, Kingston and Catskill.

A. Michael Bucci, Matthew VanDerbeck and Bradley Cummings will join UHY as partners. One of PKHB’s founders, Richard Koskey, joins UHY as a principal, along with Nancy Patzwahl, Suzanne Muldoon, Gary Newkirk, Therese Wolfe and Jean Howe Lossi.

“We are committed to ensuring a smooth transition and look forward to our combined experience strengthening our presence and further helping us counsel our clients as we continue to expand our service lines, industry sectors and advisory services to meet growing client business strategies and demands across the Northeast,” says Michael Mahoney, CEO of UHY Advisors NY, Inc.

“UHY’s commitment to client success, community support, career development, deep industry expertise and professional leadership in the accounting and advisory sectors are a foundation of our collective continuing legacies,” Bucci says.

More news from UHY