I've found that regardless of industry, transactions involving privately owned enterprises involve as much psychology as they do financial sophistication.
"Having practiced at the lower end of the middle market for the majority of my career, I understand the value of a good coach to lead family businesses and entrepreneurs through what are often life-altering transactions. Good advice and guidance starts with a solid understanding of the ultimate objectives and priorities that are not always obvious. While money is always going to be near the top of the list, growing or selling a business ultimately becomes much more complicated than just value maximization. I’ve had the good fortune of advising a number of interesting enterprises and learned from them all. And while I’ll never say I’ve seen it all, it helps to have narrowed the spectrum significantly."
Following business school, Ralph began his investment banking career with Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin helping build its Atlanta office. For six years he held various positions within the firm, beginning as a generalist across the firm’s various practice groups and ultimately focusing on M&A and corporate finance. During this time his responsibilities included leading various valuations, fairness and solvency opinions, M&A execution and private placements. Ultimately Ralph was recruited to help establish the firm’s first chemical and plastics industry practice where he was responsible for developing new industry relationships, executing various M&A and corporate finance engagements as well as assisting restructuring activity.
Ralph left Houlihan Lokey in 2006 to join SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s Business & Technology Services group. There, he provided transaction execution leadership for M&A and equity deals ranging in size from $10 million to $250 million. Between 2006 and 2009, Ralph helped broaden the Business & Technology Services practice to include a greater focus on managed services and for-profit education.
He later teamed with a colleague to develop the firm’s first middle and commercial market focused platform. There he helped build a team focused on driving M&A and capital markets activity to SunTrust’s 3,000+ clients at the lower end of the middle-market. His responsibilities included business development and client management, project execution, team leadership and developing new ways to engage SunTrust’s commercial customers.
Ralph ultimately started his own firm Loring Advisory Group, an advisory practice focused on small, privately held business seeking growth or liquidity solutions through mergers, acquisitions, recapitalizations or growth capital. As a Principal, Ralph sourced and executed advisory assignments for lower-middle-market and early-stage-oriented clients as well as consulted for businesses needing to bring greater financial sophistication to their company.
"I often feel that I’m a coach first and a financial advisor second. When people ask me what is at the core of what I do, I frequently tell them that I help companies game-plan for transformational events along its corporate life-cycle and ultimately either solve problems or tackle new opportunities. At Four Bridges, we not only have the coaching pedigrees that clients are looking for, but the playing experience that can relate to being on the field."