Cathie Wood is an American businesswoman. Current, she is both the CEO and the CIO of Ark Invest, an investment management firm that she founded in 2014. As such, there are a lot of people who pay attention to Wood’s investments, particularly since she is known for being both very bold and very successful in this regard. She is one of the top female CEOs in her industry, and the world wants more.
1. Born in Los Angeles, CA
Wood was born in Los Angeles, CA. She is the oldest child of Irish immigrants. As such, Wood has stated that she was raised as a “firstborn son,” meaning that she was expected to carve out a path for her siblings to follow.
2. Her Father Encouraged Her to Find Connections Between Things
It is interesting to note that Wood’s father served in the Irish Army and then the U.S. Air Force. After which, he went on to become a successful radar system engineer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wood’s father was quite detail-oriented, so much so that he would delve deep into problems for the purpose of gaining a thorough understanding of what was going on beneath the surface. Furthermore, he encouraged Wood to find the connections that exist between things. Something that tends to be very important in investment. After all, people can’t even make meaningful use of financial documents unless they are capable of piecing everything together to form a more comprehensive picture of what is going on than otherwise possible.
3. Went to the University of Southern California
As a teenager, Wood went to a Catholic high school. After which, she went to the University of Southern California, which can be found in Los Angeles, CA. There, Wood studied finance and economics, which are separate fields that are nonetheless closely connected with one another.
4. Mentored By Arthur Laffer
One of Wood’s professors was Arthur Laffer. It seems safe to say that the two got along quite well, seeing as how Laffer went on to become her mentor. Generally speaking, interested individuals will recognize Laffer because of his involvement in politics. After all, he is a well-known supply-side economist, which refers to the school of thought that says that the economy grows best when taxes are being cut and regulations are being removed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Laffer has been known to push other Republican positions as well. For example, he pointed out Barack Obama winning the U.S. presidential election in 2008 being a leading factor in the great recession. Similarly, he recommended halting COVID-19 relief as well as refusing to expand unemployment assistance because it discourages people from going back to work as evidenced by states that have high unemployment rates despite more job openings than ever before.
5. Spent Some Time Working as a Economist
Before Wood became an investor, she spent quite some time working as an economist. For starters, she spent three years working as an assistant economist at Capital Group, which is one of the oldest investment management organizations out there. Later, Wood spent another 18 years working as a chief economist as well as other roles for Jennison Associates, which would be the equity investment arm of PGIM.
6. Thought that Interest Rates Had Peaked in the Early 1980s
Interest rates were very high in the United States of the Early 1980s. In those times, a lot of prominent economists thought that those interest rates were embedded in the system, meaning that they would continue into the future. Wood had a different view in that she believed that interest rates had peaked. She was still young at the time, so she had to make an extra effort to convince other economists of her position. Something that taught her a great deal about the art of argument. As it turned out, Wood was right.
7. Started Out By Looking at Companies that Others Overlooked
Those changing conditions convinced Wood that she wanted to become an equity analyst as well as a portfolio manager. She started out by looking at companies that others were overlooking, with the result that she has outright compared herself to a small dog searching for scraps under the table in those days. Wood had a fair amount of success by looking at companies that sat at the intersection of multiple industries, which resulted in them receiving less attention from analysts. One example of such companies was Reuters, which was still relatively obscure in those days rather than the behemoth that it is in the present time.
8. Does a Lot of Research
Given the earlier mention of Wood being encouraged to find connections between things, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that she does a lot of research. This was true back when she was an economist; this remained true when she became involved in equities. Indeed, Wood has a reputation for consuming a huge amount of information about subjects of interest produced by a wide range of sources. Something made possible by her sheer determination because said process is both laborious and time-consuming.
9. Underperformed Compared to the Market During the Great Recession
Professional investors don’t have magical knowledge that enable them to beat the market every single time. There is a small number of individuals who can manage that either all or almost all of the time, but they are very much the exception rather than the rule. Meanwhile, it is perfectly possible for other professional investors to underperform when compared to the market from time to time. For instance, Wood actually received a fair amount of criticism for doing so back in the financial crisis of 2007 to 2008. In part, this was caused by the fact that her particular investment strategy wasn’t well-suited for handling moments when just about everything is moving in tandem.
10. Her Company Is Named for the Ark of the Covenant
Wood is quite religious. This can be seen in how she has been known to consult her spiritual advisers on non-spiritual matters, which includes her investments. For that matter, Ark Invest is named for the Ark of the Covenant, which refers to the wooden chest that is supposed to contain the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod, and a pot of manna. It is one of those items that have been lost, though there are numerous theories for where it might be. To name an example, it is sometimes said to be in Ethiopia, which is connected to the Solomonic dynasty’s claim of having descended from Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.