|From||United States of America|
|Birth||1 September 1954|
Mari Kooi (born September 1954) is the CEO and founder of Wolf Asset Management International LLC which has a focus on commodity and natural resource investments. Prior to founding Wolf, Kooi spent 18 years at Cargill Inc.., working as a trader, trading manager and finally president of Cargill Asset Management. Through her quarterly newsletter, "Sopa Piranha", Kooi is a commentator on quantitative and qualitative financial trends. She serves on the board of the Santa Fe Institute.
Life and Education
Ms. Kooi learned her trade in commodities at age 15 from her father, a commodity trader who took her under his wing and taught her the ropes. After taking delivery of the nearby egg futures he said, “Mari, always be careful trading in the nearby contract, you may have to eat it for breakfast.” Thus Mari’s interest in trading extends back 40 years.
Kooi earned a degree in economics from Iowa State University and focused her senior honors program project on World Food Distribution. She reported to renowned agricultural economist, Dr. Neil Harl. During her tenure at Iowa State, Kooi was awarded the Lucht Scholarship in economics for outstanding achievement. This was in addition to her award as a State of Iowa Scholar. Ms. Kooi holds a master's degree in finance from the University of Minnesota.
She used her early futures trading experience to land a commodity merchandising position at Cargill Incorporated in 1977. She spent six years as a commodity trader focused on grains, transportation and feed ingredients. During this time, Kooi was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade (now the CME Group) and the COMEX (now the New York Mercantile Exchange). In 1983, she helped found Cargill’s first in-house hedge fund. This small department of eight people later became a division and then a group within Cargill. As president of Cargill Asset Management, Ms. Kooi’s focus was primarily in fixed income during the heyday of high interest rates. This group later spun out as the Black River Fund (Black River Asset Management LLC) and CarVal. Ms. Kooi’s career at Cargill spanned 18 years.
Kooi’s husband, Peter Kooi, has also spent his career in the commodity industry. He was an early pioneer in the grain trading industry joining Cargill in 1965 and later becoming president of Cargill International S.A., Geneva, Switzerland, president of Cargill’s World Grain Trading Group, and president of Cargill Asia Pacific Sector, Singapore.
This led the Koois’ to live in Switzerland and Singapore where Ms. Kooi launched her first business venture, Wolf Risk Management. While living abroad, Kooi cultivated many relationships with international companies and developed knowledge of jurisdictions. Ms. Kooi has spent time in 89 countries and travel remains a high priority personally and allows her to stay abreast of the world commodity outlook.
Kooi is CEO and founder of Wolf Asset Management International LLC. Wolf International manages assets for institutional clients in a hedge fund of funds, with a particular focus on commodities. Wolf and its related companies have offices in New York, NY and Santa Fe, NM.
Wolf’s clients hail from around the world including Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and France. Wolf primarily manages money for institutions such as banks, private banks, insurance companies, pensions, public funds, and corporations.
Previously, Kooi had operating experience in commodities, transportation, money market derivatives, currencies, fixed income derivatives, equity derivatives, emerging country markets, distressed credit markets, distressed real estate, mortgage-backed securities, and tax advantaged securities. By training, Ms. Kooi is a trader and trading manager. Kooi has significant experience in risk management as a result of having served on Cargill’s Financial Services Financial Risk Committee. Kooi helped to produce the guidelines for financial risk management in Cargill’s proprietary hedge fund. Ms. Kooi is also an expert in launching private and public funds and has served on the board of over 40 funds and fund companies. She has launched many innovative products and arranged financing for them.
Ms. Kooi authors the “Sopa Piranha” publication which she started in 2002. This research- focused financial market commentary reaches more than three thousand subscribers quarterly in the investment industry.
Kooi has been spending an increasing amount of time with physicists and mathematical wizards. She is a devoted reader of the Santa Fe Institute scientists’ research, and uses the knowledge she gains from that along with conversations with fellow board members to continuously improve her investment writing. Kooi says, “When I combine complex sciences with my knowledge in financial services, I am able to generate original thoughts that are needed in our industry. I believe this explains why so many hedge fund managers read the SOPA.”
In 2006, Kooi founded and served as Chair of the New Mexico Task Force on Financial Services. This group of financial leaders developed a plan to improve New Mexico’s business environment for financial services companies. As a result, legislation was passed that made it possible for financial services companies to come to New Mexico. Kooi was instrumental in ensuring this led to job more jobs in New Mexico. Fidelity Investments opened its operations in New Mexico in 2008.
- Minnesota Museum of American Art – Twice named Trustee of the Year in a three-year term.
- New Mexico Financial Services Task Force
- Santa Fe Institute
- SITE Santa Fe
- University of Minnesota Asset Management and Debt Advisory Committee
- Minneapolis American Indian Center
- Kooi founded and presided over New Mexico State Financial Services Task Force, a not-for-profit group, dedicated to improving New Mexico State's Financial Services Industry.
- Kooi is a trustee of the Santa Fe Institute.
- Kooi is a supporter of the Foundation for the Education of Young Women through Texas Wall Street Women.
- Kooi was one of 16 supporters of the New York University Cancer Institute through “100 Women in Hedge Funds” (Winter 2007 ).
- She participated on the University of Minnesota Asset Management and Debt Advisory Committee.
- Several Art organizations have benefited from Ms. Kooi’s governance including the Minnesota Museum of American Art, which twice named her Trustee of the Year. Kooi served on the Board of Directors from 2007 to 2009 at SITE Santa Fe Museum.