(Reuters) – Crispin Odey, one of Britain’s best-known hedge fund managers, is leaving Odey Asset Management following allegations of sexual misconduct, the firm’s executive committee said on Saturday.
The Financial Times and Tortoise, in a joint publication on Thursday, reported allegations by 13 women that Odey had sexually assaulted or harassed them over a 25-year period. He denies the allegations.
Here are some key facts about Odey, his London-based hedge fund, the allegations, and the fallout:
WHO IS CRISPIN ODEY AND ODEY ASSET MANAGEMENT?
Odey, 64, founded his asset management firm in 1991. He is a leading backer of Brexit and a donor to Britain’s ruling Conservative Party.
Odey Asset Management (OAM) is known for highly leveraged bets trading global equities, debt, currencies and commodities. Besides Odey Asset Management, the group also runs Brook Asset Management and Odey Wealth, a private wealth unit.
Former UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng had been an adviser to OAM.
WHAT’S ODEY BEST KNOWN FOR?
Odey came to prominence during the 2008 financial crisis when he made a fortune short-selling banking shares, an investment practice that involves betting on a decline in the price of a stock.
HOW BIG IS ODEY ASSET MANAGEMENT?
The firm had $4.8 billion in assets under management, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in September 2022.
HOW HAS ODEY’S FIRM PERFORMED?
OAM is known for its volatile performance. Its flagship fund, the Odey European fund, is down roughly 8% this year through Friday, after it returned around 151% in 2022, its best year ever, as it shorted UK government bonds.
WHAT ARE THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST ODEY?
Referring to the joint publication by the Financial Times and Tortoise, Odey told Reuters by telephone on Thursday that it was “a rehash of an old article and none of the allegations have been stood up in a courtroom or an investigation.”
Odey did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment on Saturday.
Separately, British regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been investigating the company since 2021, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.
The fund manager was cleared of indecent assault charges by a British court in 2021.
HOW HAS OAM RESPONDED?
The firm’s executive committee said on Saturday that Odey will be leaving the asset manager.
OAM plans to change the name of the firm, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
OAM “does not recognize the picture of the firm that has been painted” by allegations of sexual misconduct by Odey published by media, it told investors in a letter dated June 8 and seen by Reuters.
COULD OAM SURVIVE WITHOUT ODEY?
Larger hedge funds such as Odey Asset Management Group are made up of many funds with different trading strategies.
An Odey Asset Management without its former figurehead might retain a majority of the firm’s assets under management, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Brook Asset Management and Odey Wealth, both part of the Odey Group, are run by different portfolio managers such as James Hanbury and Peter Martin, the chief executive of Odey Asset Management.
The Odey European Inc fund was solely overseen by Odey and a majority of the 151 million euros ($162.28 million) it had under management was his own invested money, said two people familiar with the matter.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OAM FACES?
Odey Asset Management’s prime brokers, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, are reviewing their ties with the firm.
Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan continue to review their prime brokerships with OAM, sources familiar with matter told Reuters on Saturday.
Morgan Stanley declined to comment on Saturday. UBS, which also acts as a prime broker to OAM, did not immediately respond.
Prime brokers are vital for a hedge fund operation as they provide trading services, leverage for bets and securities custody.
Schroders Plc and Canada Life on Friday moved to cut back their dealings with the asset management businesses with links to Odey.
($1 = 0.9305 euros)
(Reporting by Carolina Mandl in New York and Nell Mackenzie in London; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe and Daniel Wallis)