Investment banker Bernard Beal was born on February 22, 1954 in New York, New York and raised by his grandparents in the South Bronx. An outstanding student, Beal attended the public schools of the South Bronx and later enrolled in the Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut through the A Better Chance program. He graduated there with top honors in 1972. Beal went on to attend and graduate from Carleton College in 1976 with his B.A. degree in economics. He also received his M.B.A. degree from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in 1979.
Upon graduation, Beal began his career on Wall Street as an investment banker with E.F. Hutton & Co. in the tax exempt securities division, where he headed the College and Educational Finance Group and co-founded the Housing Finance Group. Beal then moved on to the corporate finance division, eventually becoming a senior vice president. In 1988, he launched M.R. Beal & Co. in New York City with eight employees and a primary focus on municipal finance. Over the next two decades, M.R. Beal expanded to over forty employees with offices in several cities, including Chicago, Illinois, Dallas, Texas, Walnut Creek, California and Atlanta, Georgia. The firm also expanded its focus to include corporate finance and taxable fixed income securities.
M.R. Beal is the nation's oldest continuously operated minority-owned investment bank and has earned significant recognition, including being cited as one of the “big five” minority-owned investment banks founded in the 1980s. M.R. Beal was also Black Enterprise’s Finance Company of the Year in 2001 and 2011. Beal has been on Black Enterprise’s list of the most notable African Americans on Wall Street in 1992 and 2003.
Beal has served on the boards of the National Foundation for Affordable Housing, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the Public Securities Association, and the National Association of Securities Professionals. He was also board chair of A Better Chance, where he oversaw the successful financial and programmatic turnaround of the organization. Additionally, Beal served as chairman of the SIFMA Foundation of Investor Education, where he ensured the continuation of the funding for the “Stock Market Game” program to foster knowledge and understanding of the financial markets for individuals of all backgrounds.
Beal is married to Valerie Lancaster-Beal, an investment banker who serves as a managing director at M.R. Beal. Their son, Michael, is the head of strategy and finance in a business unit of JP Morgan Chase. Their daughter, Erica, is a lead 7th grade teacher with KIPP DC, a public college preparatory charter school.
Bernard Beal was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 10, 2013.