Odey’s Slump Deepens as His Hedge Fund Loses Another 30.5%
(Bloomberg) -- Crispin Odey’s flagship hedge fund lost money again in 2020, deepening the gloom for the bearish manager as he tries to revive his shrinking firm and fights an indecent assault charge.
His Odey European Inc. hedge fund fell 30.5% despite a big gain during the pandemic-fueled selloff in March, according to an investor update seen by Bloomberg. That’s the fifth annual decline in the past six years and compares with a 5.8% average gain across all hedge funds through November.
“I realize that for many of my investors the current performance of the fund is inexcusable,” Odey wrote in another letter to clients in November.
The fund would now need to make a return of 203% just to recover losses incurred since 2015, according to Bloomberg calculations. A spokesman for London-based Odey Asset Management confirmed last year’s returns.
Odey is mired in one of the biggest crises of an investing career that spans nearly three decades. His firm’s assets have dwindled to about $3 billion from $13 billion in 2015, as his contrarian bets misfire. He has stepped down from running his eponymous firm to focus on trading. And he faces a court trial after pleading not guilty to an accusation of groping a young female banking employee more than 20 years ago.
One of the best-known hedge fund managers in Europe, Odey has been in the media spotlight for his support of Brexit and vocal criticism of central bank policies, in addition to his long-running bearish bets. He uses macro-economic analysis to wager on stocks, bonds and currencies.
In April, Odey likened the pandemic’s devastation of the global economy to the Great Depression, after his flagship fund made 21% during the worst of the market turmoil the month before. Yet while some peers exploited last year’s volatility to make a strong comeback following the first wave of the outbreak, Odey continued to struggle as markets rebounded and the S&P 500 index ended the year up 18.4%.
Still, the news wasn’t all bad for the firm in 2020. The Odey Absolute Return Focus Fund managed by James Hanbury returned 46.2%, while his LF Odey Absolute Return fund gained 29.1%, according to the spokesman. Adrian Courtenay’s Odey Special Situations Fund was up 42.8%.
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