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What next for Crispin Odey’s eclectic aristocrats on £390k?

The period between 2021 and 2022 was not a good one for Odey Asset Management. In the year to April ‘22, operating profits halved and partners flooded out the door. But the boss got back to his desk after his 30-year marriage ended, even though he’d been cleared of sexually assaulting a young banker several decades previously.

The year from April ‘22 to April ‘23 (for which accounts are not yet available), may have been a better one: Robin Crispin William Odey (AKA Crispin) boasted about the profits he made from shorting the British economy during the Truss tenure.

But the year from April 2023 could be worse. Much worse.

Following the Financial Times’ devastating expose on Crispin Odey’s alleged predatory behaviour towards young women in his employment, the Financial Conduct Authority is reportedly investigating Odey Asset Management for non-financial misconduct. Morgan Stanley is said to have terminated its prime broking relationship with the firm. If other prime brokers follow its example, Odey Asset Management could have a struggle on its hands.

A law firm representing Odey Asset Management told the FT that the accusations against Crispin Odey are "strenuously disputed." The tumult may yet blow over. But in the meantime, Odey’s employees – many of whom are of an aristocratic lineage not dissimilar to their liege, may have reason to sweat (also not unlike their liege).

Odey’s acolytes have been comparatively well paid. In 2022, average compensation for Odey Asset Management’s 27 employees was close to an average of £390k each. The fund’s 17 partners were paid an additional £1m+ on top of that. Even so, there was a rush for the exits last year: seven partners went, compared to four the previous year and none the year before that. Following the FT’s latest allegations, it seems reasonable to assume there will a rush for the exits again.

Odey Asset Management isn’t just Crispin Odey. Freddie Neave, Odey’s number two has been there for a decade since leaving Goldman Sachs. A cluster of young aristocrats like Henry Robert Fitzroy John Worcester (the Earl of Glamorgan) and Mathieu Poitrat Rachmaninoff stuck with the firm through its founder’s court struggle. Those accusations concerned Crispin Odey alone, and none but Crispin Odey himself are accused of wrongdoing in the FT’s article today. But if the Odey brand itself becomes toxic, it could be the end. - Particularly in a market where hedge fund talent is hard to come by.   

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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