Odey Asset Management has suspended trading in a fourth fund following a “sizeable level” of withdrawal requests in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against founder Crispin Odey, which have precipitated the break-up of one of London’s oldest hedge fund firms.
The firm said in a letter to investors on Friday that it was temporarily suspending trading in its $80mn Special Situations fund to sell assets in an “orderly fashion” to meet the redemptions.
The suspension is the latest move by the firm to contain the fallout as investors have attempted to redeem their money from its funds over the past week. Odey Asset Management said on Thursday it was in “advanced discussions” about transferring certain funds and staff to rival companies.
That decision capped a tumultuous week for the firm since the Financial Times published last Thursday an investigation into allegations of sexual assault or harassment from 13 women against Crispin Odey. He strenuously denies the allegations.
Odey Asset Management earlier this week halted trading in three other funds — Brook Developed Markets, LF Odey Portfolio and Brook Absolute Return — and closed the Odey Swan fund, because of the higher than usual volume of withdrawal requests.
The Swan fund, which was managed by Crispin Odey and houses €117mn of assets, is being liquidated so that money can be returned to shareholders. The measure to halt withdrawals from the other funds is one of the emergency actions taken by the firm to mitigate the effects of investors and institutions cutting ties with Odey Asset Management.
This week, the FT reported that JPMorgan was terminating its relationship with the asset manager, serving notice on its prime broking and custody relations. Prime brokers provide hedge funds with stock lending, lending and other services, while custodians safeguard customers’ money. It is a regulatory requirement for hedge funds to have a custodian in place.
UBS also moved to cut ties with Odey Asset Management as a prime broker, following JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs.
Odey Asset Management, which oversees about $4.4bn, is now in talks with rivals about offloading funds and managers in a move that could spell the end of the firm that Crispin Odey founded in 1991.
The firm said on Thursday that “any sale or rehousing is considered subject of course to any relevant regulatory approvals and due diligence, with a view to an orderly transition of any assets and investors”. However, it did not name the companies engaged in the discussions.
The firm’s biggest funds include Brook European Focus Fund, run by Oliver Kelton, and LF Brook Absolute Return Fund, run by James Hanbury. Odey Asset Management created the Brook brand in 2020 and rebadged several funds with the moniker.