ACG CT’s Membership Chair, Katie Nyarady, recently met with Anthony Macaluso to get his perspective on ACG CT and driving middle-market growth.
Below is the transcript of Katie and Anthony’s discussion regarding involvement with the Connecticut chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and the outlook for middle market business activity.
What has been your favorite ACG event to attend?
I have really enjoyed the ACG Connecticut Investment Banking Expo and the Young Professional meetings. The Investment Banking Expo has been a great event for Belden Hill Partners to further introduce our firm and services to the ACG community, and the Young Professional meetings have been an excellent way to network and cultivate relationships with peers in the ACG Connecticut group that are at similar stages in their respective careers.
What are you excited about in your role now?
At Belden Hill Partners, our focus is on advising family owned and closely held businesses. We’ve been fortunate to establish long-term relationships with many of our clients, and hearing the compelling stories of how family businesses were started, and then have grown and adapted over time, is a really interesting part of our work. Often times when we first meet a prospective client, the company’s shareholders and family members are unsure of the options that are available to them, most often assuming a full sale of the business is the only way to address liquidity and succession concerns. As part of our work with them, we’re able to shed light on the many other transaction alternatives that should be considered, which is usually an eye-opening experience for the family business. Even if a sale is the ultimate route chosen, helping families to become better educated as to their options, and then ultimately helping to navigate the company through the transition of a business they’ve likely held for generations, is a rewarding process.
In my role as a Leadership Advisor, I work with people to help them be more thoughtful as to how they can become more seriously relevant and irresistibly compelling. How do you think ACG has helped you become more relevant and compelling?
ACG has been an excellent forum to introduce Belden Hill Partners to others in the middle market space. Our work is collaborative by nature, as all of our projects involve working with other professional advisors (lawyers, accountants, wealth managers, consultants, etc.). Through ACG events and connections, we continue to meet new advisors that could be future collaboration partners, while also continuing to strengthen relationships with our existing network. Likewise, ensuring that our peers understand Belden Hill’s value-added services hopefully keeps us relevant and compelling, or as we say “top of mind”, when opportunities arise to work with fellow ACG members.
What challenges do you see for the middle market today?
Pertaining to family businesses, there is often trepidation about entering into a capital markets transaction processes. Middle market family business owners usually have concerns around the business’ “readiness” to go to market or how current market conditions will affect the process outcome. The current market, with heightened valuations for sellers, can cause even more angst, as some owners may feel a need to rush to market to catch the favorable conditions, which we think is counterproductive. Over the next few years, particularly with the expected increase in business transitions resulting from baby boomer retirements, we think it’s even more important for business owners to understand, prepare and plan for their business’ transition so they can be proactive, rather than reactive, in pursuing a potential liquidity event.