Crispin Odey to leave hedge fund after assault claims, partners say

Partners at Odey Asset Management said that founder Crispin Odey would leave the firm after 13 women accused him of sexual misconduct.

The high-profile financier and his firm have been at the centre of a growing crisis after the Financial Times reported on Thursday that 13 women alleged Odey had sexually assaulted or harassed them in various incidents over a 25-year period.

“Mr Crispin Odey is leaving the partnership. As from today, he will no longer have any economic or personal involvement in the partnership,” Peter Martin, chief executive, and Michael Ede, chief financial and operating officer, wrote in a statement seen by the FT on Saturday.

They added that Odey Asset Management Group Limited, a holding company that is part of the group and majority owned by Odey, would also be removed as a member and that the partnership would now be owned and controlled by remaining partners.

In the statement, Odey Asset Management also confirmed it “has been investigating allegations concerning Mr Odey” but said it could not comment in detail for confidentiality reasons. It said that “further communications” with clients would follow over the weekend.

Reached by phone at lunchtime on Saturday, Odey confirmed he had been notified of the firm’s decision but suggested he would fight it. “You have to have [a] willing buyer, willing seller,” he said. He did not provide additional comment.

A law firm representing Odey had previously said allegations made against him were “strenuously disputed”. Odey said this week that “none of the allegations have been stood up in a courtroom or an investigation”.

A former partner said of Odey: “The emperor now has no clothes and is losing his powers. It’s very nice not to be there anymore. They had to get rid of him. He’s clearly got to go. In the end the boss got shoved because he went too far.”

Odey has been an important figure in the City of London for more than three decades. Since establishing Odey Asset Management in 1991, he has cultivated a reputation for taking high risk punts on the market, delivering enormous returns as well as vast losses.

He has also donated large sums to the UK’s Conservative party and the anti-immigration Ukip party, as well as anti-EU pressure groups. In 2022, Odey benefited from steep drops in the value of sterling after he bet against the pound. His flagship fund returned 152 per cent in 2022.

Odey stepped down as co-chief executive of the firm in November 2020, but remained the majority owner. In the same month, Brook Asset Management was established and almost half of the firm’s funds, including those by star partners James Hanbury and Oliver Kelton, were rebranded under the Brook name.

Several large financial institutions had already moved to cut ties with the firm in response to the FT’s reporting.

Exane, which is owned by French bank BNP Paribas, told Odey Asset Management on Thursday that it was terminating the relationship. Goldman Sachs began unwinding its relationship, including with Brook Asset Management, on Friday.

The Financial Conduct Authority, which approves the management of financial services firms and is investigating OAM, has been notified of the planned change of control at the company, a person familiar with the situation said. The FCA declined to comment.

The last time Odey’s executive committee attempted to discipline him for his behaviour towards women, after he broke a “final written warning” prohibiting him from behaving inappropriately with female staff in 2021, he fired them.

According to the former partner, extracting Odey from the firm he founded will be complicated because of its “convoluted structure” with several holding companies within the group that are legally interconnected. Back office, legal, compliance and marketing departments are shared.

“As we have said previously, the executive committee takes all allegations of misconduct extremely seriously. The firm has robust policies and procedures that have been followed at all times,” Odey Asset Management’s statement added.