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Bridgewater Vet Stefanova Secures $100mn for Marto

Katina Stefanova’s two-year-old firm is now managing outside capital thanks to a big cash injection from an unnamed anchor investor.

  • Julie Segal

Two-year-old Marto Capital, a New York-based investment firm founded by Bridgewater veteran Katina Stefanova, has formally opened its doors to outside capital with a big new investment, according to a person familiar with the firm.

The firm has secured a $100 million anchor investment from what the person describes as an institutional-quality fund of funds, in a deal that includes preferential fee treatment but no equity stake or revenue share. After earning an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 2005, Stefanova joined Bridgewater as a senior investment associate. She spent more than nine years there in various roles in areas ranging from account management to information technology and operations. She worked directly with CEO Ray Dalio as a management committee adviser. (Separately, Dalio announced on Wednesday via LinkedIn that he is stepping down from management of Bridgewater but will retain his co-CIO and co-chairman roles.) 

After leaving Bridgewater in 2014, Stefanova launched Marto Capital in June 2015 with three other executives — two of them from Bridgewater — and $30 million in funds from the founders and family offices. The firm’s flagship hedge fund returned 11 percent net of fees in 2015; it gained 11 percent in 2016 and had netted 3.8 percent year-to-date through the end of February. Marto plans to launch other alternative investment strategies.

The idea underpinning the firm is the use of science and technology to redesign investment processes. The firm uses an engineering approach to investments, building systematic, bottom-up valuation-based models of the entire global market. It then uses systematic portfolio construction and product development that adapts to various market conditions, including tail risks and rising market volatility.

Marto’s other key team members are Adam Bochenek, chief operating officer, who helped build out Bridgewater’s portfolio risk budgeting platform and analytics infrastructure for portfolio construction and risk management; Felix Turton, director of research, who was a Bridgewater investment associate; and Garth Appelt, director of markets and new products, who had previously been an emerging markets portfolio manager at Moore Capital Management and an emerging markets trader at Goldman Sachs.