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What to Make of ARK Innovation ETF's Surprising News

ARKK leader Cathie Wood is no longer a solo act—two associate portfolio managers have been named at the firm.

In May 2022, ARK Investment Management appeared to set the stage for a portfolio management succession plan by publicly naming two current analysts, Sam Korus and Nicholas Grous, as associate portfolio managers. It is a surprising development at ARK, where 66-year-old Cathie Wood has been the firm's sole portfolio manager of all its nine exchange-traded funds since their inceptions. The firm has so far relied on director of research Brett Winton to stand in for her if needed. It is difficult at this point to gauge the significance of the change in title for Korus and Grous. They retain their coverage of automation, robotics, energy storage, alternate energy, and space exploration (all covered by Korus) and digital media and online gaming (Grous). The associate portfolio manager title has been scarce on ARK's investment team since the firm's founding, and the only individual known to Morningstar to have held it did so briefly and did not advance as a portfolio manager. (He instead pursued other roles at the firm, eventually becoming its current chief operating officer.) Korus and Grous, who joined the firm in 2015 and 2018, respectively, have unexceptional backgrounds relative to the typical analyst or associate portfolio managers at rival firms. Their histories of full-time work experience are mostly limited to their tenures at ARK, where their accomplishments are tough to discern. ARK Innovation ETF's ARKK Morningstar Analyst Rating and pillar ratings are unchanged.

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