Bernard and Valerie Beal: M.R. Beal & Company. After successful Wall Street careers Bernard and Valerie Lancaster-Beal launched New York-based M.R. Beal & Co. in 1988. The company’s structure was based on a business plan that Bernard had written eight years earlier while studying for an M.B.A. at Stanford University. M.R. Beal & Company became one of the nation’s leading minority-owned investment banks specializing in municipal and corporate finance, with Bernard serving as chief executive while Valerie was the firm’s senior vice president and director of strategic planning. At its peak, M.R. Beal managed municipal financings totaling in excess of $400 billion, and served as financial advisor on over 60 financings worth in excess of $7 billion. In 1999, M.R. Beal expanded its equity research and participated in over $75 billion of equity and corporate debt financings. Blaylock & Co, a leading minority-owned investment bank and financial services firm, acquired M.R. Beal in 2014.