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Katina Stefanova is a Strategic leadership|strategic leader in asset management and financial services, thought leader on disruption in asset management, frequent keynote speaker, and contributor to Forbes. She is the founder and CEO of Marto Capital – a multi-strategy macro-economic investment firm focused on fundamental models..
Early life and education
Katina Stefanova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. When she was 18 years old, Stefanova moved to the United States as she says: «with only two hundred dollars in her pocket». Katina Stefanova received a scholarship from Brigham Young University, where she studied International Relations, in 1994 and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in 1998. Katina Stefanova earned a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School from 2003-2005.
During her career, Katina Stefanova has worked both in startups, as well as big companies. Stefanova started work in 1998 in an accounting firm Arthur Andersen in Seattle, where she specialized in mergers and acquisitions advisory services, including valuation and post-merger integration in the technology and telecommunication sector. She also advised tech companies looking to acquire dot-com businesses.
In 1999 she became a director of international business development for AdRelevance – an internet advertising measurement dot-com, leading the company's expansion into the European market by establishing strategic partnerships with British Telecom and Vodafone.
In 2000, she joined IBM’s Mergers and Acquisitions practice for Europe, Middle East, and Asia and participated in IBM’s largest financial services PBO deal generating $3 billion in revenue in over five years. At IBM, she led large post-merger integration initiatives for financial services clients in Europe and Asia. Simultaneously, she was an advisor to Berkeley Capital Partners, an EBRD backed Venture Capital firm in Russia, on emerging technologies.
From 2005 to 2014, she served as a Senior Executive and Management Committee Advisor at Bridgewater Associates – the largest hedge fund. She joined the firm as a Senior Investment Associate in Account Management and then moved to report directly to the CEO and Founder, Ray Dalio where she oversaw various departments including IT and Core Management. She oversaw all post-trade departments, including Operations, Back and Middle Office Technology, Fund Accounting, and led many cross-departmental initiatives including managed the Back Office team during major transformation and outsourcing.
After 9 years at Bridgewater Associates, she quit the company and launched Marto Capital in New York, a multi-strategy asset management firm.
In one of the latest interviews with David Teten in 2014, Katina Stefanova shared her own formula for investment success: «to create returns above beta returns, an investment manager has to not only beat the markets but also to create customizable solutions for its clients». She answered the philosophical question: «Do you have a motto in business or life?: «R. Kipling’s poem “If—” exemplifies my philosophy in life».
When building Marto Capital and writing her research paper on disruption in money management, Katina based her research on some Harvard Business School professors. For example, in Clayton Christensen’s classical view of “disruptive innovation”. Where a product or service first gains customers by doing only one or two jobs for a client, typically on the low end of an established market. Eventually, the company moves upmarket and displaces the established competitors.
Katina Stefanova is the co-founder of AcordIQ- company, which delivers portfolio intelligence and governance solutions with expert consulting services to asset managers and institutional investors. In her interview with EURObiz magazine in 2015 she said «to build AccordIQ, our team has applied the same lessons that I have learned from my experience at Bridgewater Associates». AccordIQ was spun out of Oktay Technology, started as a strategic technology advisor to the financial services firms, large banks, and asset managers, and then started to productize the solutions Stefanova’s team was advising on.
She is a board member of One Heart Bulgaria, a charity that helps orphans in her native country. She has been involved with the Charity since her high school years in Bulgaria and continued to support them when she moved to the USA.
In November 2019, Stefanova was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres to serve as a member of the Investment Committee of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, which is a non-profit appointment.
Also, Stefanova publishes articles for Forbes since 2014 and The Hedge Fund Journal on disruption in asset management, technology innovation, and macro markets. In her articles, she deals with politics, economics, and the latest world event. Some of the most popular: «China's Rising Wealth Gap And Implications To Markets And The World», «3 Reasons Why Gold Will Outperform Equities And Bonds» and «The End of The Golden Era for Risk Parity?».
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