Wood is the 65-year-old mother of three children, Caitlin,Caroline, and Robert, who founded her firm at age 57 afterworking years in the financial industry, at Capital Group;
Jennison Associates; Tupelo Capital Management, a hedgefund she co-founded; and AllianceBernstein.
Her mentor and college professor at USC was supply sideeconomist Arthur Laffer, best known for the Laffer Curve.The concept posits that higher income tax rates decreasethe incentive to work and invest; it was embraced byRonald Reagan, who pushed to cut the top marginal incometax rate from 70% to 28% during his two terms in office.
In October 2020, Wood discussed how the re-electionof Trump would likely include further tax cuts on personalincome and capital gains and reduced regulation, whilea Biden victory would likely mean higher tax rates “of allkinds” and more regulation. She didn’t officially endorseeither candidate.
Wood is a devout Christian. In a “Jesus Calling” podcast,she describes “being born with the gift of faith.” Wood alsosaid she named the investment firm she now leads afterthe Ark of Covenant because it was “founded on faith,”which helped her persevere in the early years when assetshardly grew.
“I believe that in starting Ark Invest, I was fulfilling His
will for me here on Earth and that if I had not done it, that I
would have died an unhappy woman not having fulfilled my
On its website and in some recent press coverge, Wood
and the firm state that the name is an acronym for Active
Research Knowledge. —Bernice Napach
though you wouldn’t normally associate patience with thiskind of high-growth investment style, I think that has also contributed to the fund’s success,” according to Arnott.
It also makes for consistency, points out David Nadig, chiefinvestment officer and director of research for ETF Trendsand ETF Database. Wood and team “are doing what they saidthey were going to do since they started the firm — runningan aggressive high conviction innovation next generation economically styled portfolio,” he said in late February.
This Ark process is demonstrated by moves like its purchaseof Tesla stock when the EV-maker’s price falls, for instance.“This is not only normal, it’s literally exactly what she told youshe was going to do,” Nadig explained. “It’s hard not to admiresomebody who calls their shot and then lands it.”
Many industry experts say that what makes Ark different fromrivals is its transparency. Wood is vocal and open during interviews. She even provides investors with a blueprint of whatthe firm is doing through Ark’s yearly “Big Ideas” report.
“In fact, there is a website and an app (Ark Tracker) thatmonitor the firm’s trades daily. Investors can also sign up forintraday trade alerts on the company’s website,” according toJohnson and Blue. (Daily trading data is required of all assetmanagers running actively managed ETFs.)
Wood is “the best financial communicator on the Street,”
Nadig said. There’s nothing wrong with her openness, he adds:
“Talking your book is not a crime.”
Wood is well aware that the firm gets lots of attention —
and not only from its performance. “The fact we are willing to
share our research and be vulnerable out there” gets attention,
she told Benzinga.
And Ark shares more than its trading moves. A year ago, itput its Tesla valuation model on GitHub, a community software building site, and had blowback because of its errors.
“Guess what, there are errors in every buyside model — Iguarantee it.” Wood said. “But we are going to have fewererrors because all the ‘kind’ people out there gave us that constructive criticism … so our models probably are more robust.”With its transparency and high-profile status, the InnovationETF has been a target for short sellers. “There are a lot ofhedge funds who are trying to either front run their trades orkind of ride on coattails,” according to Arnott.
Wood isn’t worried. On a March 9 market call, she said Arkwants to push its research out while it’s evolving: “We want toengage with the innovation communities.” Sharing ideas is a“win-win,” she added. “If you don’t give, you don’t get.”
Although Wood recently told Benzinga that the main criticismArk gets is about the short-term valuations of its holdings(which she maintains Ark is invested in for the long term),
Cathie Wood: A Quick Primer