213. BONUS Cathie Wood of ARK: Going Back to the Future with AI

Cathie Wood is CEO of ARK Investment Management LLC (“ARK”). Prior to ARK, Cathie spent twelve years at AllianceBernstein as Chief Investment Officer of Global Thematic Strategies where she managed $5 billion. Cathie joined Alliance Capital from Tupelo Capital Management, a hedge fund she co-founded which, in 2000, where she managed $800 million in global thematic strategies. Prior to her tenure at Tupelo Capital, she worked for 18 years with Jennison Associates as Chief Economist, Equity Research Analyst, Portfolio Manager and Director. She started her career in Los Angeles, California at The Capital Group as an Assistant Economist.

This was our second podcast recording together but the first for the Fiftyfaces Podcast. We started by tracing Cathie’s upbringing and the fusion of innovation, entrepreneurship and travel that led to a peripatetic youth, including a spell in Ireland. We hear what drove her interest in finance and investing, and how she started her career.

Our conversation moves then to the founding of ARK, and the almost spiritual reckoning that led to Cathie’s decision to strike out on her own. We hear about her commitment to transparency and openness when it comes to research, and to the overarching importance of making their research open source. The team at ARK believes that this makes their process more robust, more resilient and adaptive, and they give the example of the evolution of their “autonomous cars” segment to embrace all of AI and how they have cross-checked some of their assumptions around growth in other sectors.

Given how topical the subject is, we dive into a discussion about AI and its likely impact on the investment management industry. Cathie’s thesis is an optimistic one, that should get the industry back to its original, forward-looking focus on themes and creativity. Finally we speak about pushback, criticism and debate that ARK and its theses have occasionally attracted.

This podcast will be part of Series 5 of the 2023 Fiftyfaces Podcast which is kindly sponsored by With Intelligence, which has the mission of connecting investors and managers to the right people and data to raise and allocate assets effectively