Ralph Serrano, of Miami-based Safe Harbor Equity, is the managing director of the boutique-style private equity firm specializing in real estate debt investments.
Since founding Safe Harbor Equity in 2005, Serrano has overseen the execution of hundreds of individual transactions for performing and non-performing loans, defaulted debt instruments, and distressed real estate assets in the residential and commercial sectors. The bulk of Safe Harbor Equity’s investments occur in South Florida, but the firm routinely seeks opportunities elsewhere in the United States as well.
How Ralph Serrano Got His Start
Since graduating from Florida International University, Ralph Serrano has been a private investor in commercial and residential real estate primarily in South Florida. From 1992 until 1999, he served as the CEO of MTU, Inc., a Miami-area commercial vehicle fleet maintenance and service provider that he founded. After leaving MTU, Serrano spent two years as a national account manager for WorldCom, Inc., formerly MCI.
Between 2001 and 2005, Serrano held the role of business management and strategic consultant for British Aerospace Systems (BAE Systems), a British aerospace conglomerate. Serrano’s portfolio included much of South America, including Chile and Brazil.
Ralph Serrano and Safe Harbor Equity
At Safe Harbor Equity, Serrano acquires and manages non-performing mortgage loans, defaulted debt instruments, and distressed real estate assets. His team employs highly sophisticated analytical techniques and leverages decades of combined experience in pursuing distressed assets that will maximize investor returns in a range of market climates. The firm caters to sophisticated investors, acting both as principal and intermediary for managed accounts, partnerships, participations, and joint ventures.
In his capacity as Safe Harbor Equity’s managing director, Serrano pursues a capital preservation strategy that targets performing and non-performing asset-backed real estate mortgages with expected IRRs of 20 percent or higher. Typical targets are first position loans with LTVs ranging from 50 to 70 percent, backed by collateral types including office, retail, industrial, warehouse, multifamily, and single-family residential. Serrano and his team pursue both single-note and loan pool acquisitions, depending on circumstances.
Since founding Safe Harbor Equity, Ralph Serrano has had a hand in the servicing, management, or execution of millions in debt and real estate transactions. His team has built a robust, proprietary deal flow leveraging personal and professional relationships throughout the South Florida banking and real estate investor communities, and remains committed to differentiating its service with a high-touch, in-house investor servicing platform.
In his capacity as Safe Harbor Equity’s managing director, Serrano is a frequent guest and speaker at real estate investment conferences throughout North America. Serrano also makes regular appearances technology conferences and meetups, including blockchain and fintech interest groups.
Serrano’s philanthropic activities include material support for several charities operating in South Florida and elsewhere. These include Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a cancer treatment facility in Miami; the Ganley Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the destigmatization of depression and other mental health issues; and Best Buddies International, a nonprofit that creates friendship, employment, and leadership opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Ralph Serrano lives in Miami, Florida, with his family.