#MeToo Comes To Wall Street: Odey Hedge Fund In Peril After 13 Women Accuse Billionaire Of Sexual Assault, Harassment And "Toxic Workplace"

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Jun 08, 2023 - 05:25 PM

The FT has published a lengthy #MeToo style hit-piece on "eccentric" bearish billionaire hedge fund manager Crispin Odey (who, by way of background, "used his wealth and influence to boost the country’s Conservative party, back Brexit and cultivate friendships with former prime minister Boris Johnson" all unforgivable transgressions for the ultraliberal FT), and accusing him of sexual assault and a hostile workplace environment (in other words, of running a hedge fund).

The report cites thirteen women "who have worked for Odey Asset Management or had social or professional dealings with Odey" and who claim that the billionaire hedge fund manager "abused or harassed them; eight alleged he sexually assaulted them."

It gets better: the various incidents - which occurred between 1998 and 2021 - also "include masturbating on a female entrepreneur" (we assume this means stripper) after a business meeting and "forcing a friend’s hand on to his penis" (supposedly female friend). To bring totality to what are otherwise a bunch of unconfirmed allegations similar to those that crushed countless careers during the peak of the MeToo era, the FT says that "it has corroborated accounts of an abusive workplace culture through interviews with more than 40 former employees of Odey Asset Management at every level." In other words, the FT corroborated that Odey Asset Management was a hedge fund.

Of course, as the FT is quick to point out, this is not the first time Odey - about whom the FT just can't run out of descriptives and calls him "a self-styled maverick and gentleman rebel" - has faced serious misconduct accusations...

In 2021, he defended himself against a sexual assault claim made by a female banker in British courts and won. Allegations in Bloomberg, The Sunday Times and a Tortoise Media podcast have done little to hurt his standing. UK regulators still consider Odey “fit and proper”, the standard senior management at financial firms must uphold, and he continues to be quoted in Britain’s most influential newspapers.

...which is why the FT's accusations had to be truly memorable. This is how the article's author, FT reporter Madison Marriage describes her process:

1/5 This is a story about money, power, and greed. It is about how one of Britain’s most celebrated financiers -- a self-styled maverick and gentleman rebel -- compulsively harassed and assaulted the women he came into contact with over 30 years.

2/5 We have forensically examined how Crispin Odey - known as ‘the big man’ to some staff, or ‘the octopus’ to others - behaved at work at his eponymous firm and with business contacts and social acquaintances. He  disputed our reporting, calling the allegations "rubbish".

3/5 Thirteen women agreed to speak to the FT about the abuse they encountered. Eight of these women said they were sexually assaulted by Odey. Five described harassment, including unwanted massages in the workplace and comments about their appearance and sex lives.

4/5 This story raises wider questions. How should colleagues react when a powerful boss behaves inappropriately? How should regulators assess the suitability of senior financiers? Should newspapers continue to court high profile sources facing serious misconduct claims?

5/5 We are immensely grateful to the women who entrusted us with their stories and the sources who shed light on Odey’s broader workplace behaviour.

For all the colorful allegations, read the full FT piece.

With that in mind, we can't wait until the FT brings its extensive investigatorial skills to the next hedge fund down the street and finds that - gasp - the boys club is that for a reason, and a trading floor is not exactly a place for budding feminists, the same feminists that joined without a gun to their head, knowing very well the treatment they would be subject to in pursuit of a much (as in much) higher compensation. And if said compensation fails to materialize, well the fund is then subject to the same #metoo treatment that swept across Hollywood several years ago much to the horror of its faux-progressive population.

It's probably why when the FT reached Odey "briefly by phone" the hedge fund manager said the unsubstantiated allegations were “rubbish” and hung up. "A week later, a law firm representing him said he “strenuously disputed” the allegations and claimed the FT had a “preordained agenda" the FT reports, while pursuing its preordained agenda.

And just like every other #MeToo accusation, "nine of the women who spoke to the FT have never told their stories publicly before" because - drumroll - "most requested anonymity for fear of social, professional or financial retaliation."

The women said they were speaking out because Odey continues to preside over a large, highly regarded company, where he wields power over young female employees. Their accounts paint a picture of a domineering executive holding court over a company culture that could be as intoxicating as it was toxic.

Again, it's called working in a hedge fund.

Which, however, is irrelevant and the same flailing witch hunt that put a premature end to so many careers in Hollywood in recent years, has now moved to Wall Street, and following the FT report - which may or many not have a "preordained agenda" - the wheels of finally canceling Odey are in motion and the UK’s top financial regulator was said to be investigating Odey Asset Management,  while Morgan Stanley on Thursday severed Prime Brokerage ties with the firm. JPMorgan was also said to be reviewing its prime broking relationship with Odey Asset Management in light of the allegations in the FT.

We expect that by the end of the day Odey won't have a single Prime Brokerage relationship left now that the "cancel hedge fund" model has been successfully tested.

Expect this to repeat on many more occasions as disgruntled female employees of hundreds of other hedge funds also "suddenly" decide to speak out "for the first time" having kept their mouths shut for years over "fear of social, professional or financial retaliation" but realizing that the financial gain from accusing someone of sexual misconduct now far outweighs the lack of upside from keeping one's mouth shut (especially when one has been already fired). As to whether anything improper actually happened - like men acting like men often do in the middle of a trading floor - the answer is about to cost the world's richest men billions as they find out what happens when #MeToo moves to Wall Street.