Friday, May 23, 2014

Hedge Funder Crispen Odey Has Become a Parody of.....Crispen Odey

In our first Odey in 2014 post I noted:
Although the guy is tasteless* he does put up the numbers.  
If he stops doing that he is just another wealthy self-indulgent jerk

From the New York Times' DealBook:

A Hedge Fund Highflier Comes Back to Earth
ENGLISH BICKNOR, England — The chickens of the one percent could roost comfortably here.
In this West England village, where sheep seem more abundant than people, a hedge fund manager, Crispin Odey, is close to completing a chicken coop in the style and scale of a small Grecian temple. Screened by walls and vegetation, it has been an object of mystery, though elaborate architectural drawings reveal a sweeping three-sided stairway, two dozen columns and radiating rooftop design flourishes.
If nothing else, the sprawling coop, with a final cost above $250,000, has made Mr. Odey headline fodder. British tabloids called it Cluckingham Palace.

That he built it on the back of Europe’s economic slump has only added to the vitriol for what some feel is an ostentatious display at a time of economic suffering. Mr. Odey profited handsomely during Europe’s financial crisis, including from betting that British banks would falter. The Guardian called his coop a “fowl extravagance.

Locals, though, don’t seem to mind. Christopher Lathan, a member of the English Bicknor parish council, said, “I think most people feel that what anyone does on their own land is up to them so long as it affects no one else.”

Ostentation is no stranger to Britain. Even by the standards of the superrich, London has seen a remarkable influx of wealth. Sheiks. Oligarchs. Financiers. Real estate prices soar ever higher and eye-popping inequalities have grown.
Crispin Odey, manager of a London hedge fund, became something of a celebrity in financial circles.
Financiers like Mr. Odey, 55, are semi-celebrities. He and his second wife, Nichola Pease, another investment industry stalwart, are sometimes called the Posh and Becks of the financial world, a nod to Britain’s most celebrated nonroyal couple, the Beckhams.
Mr. Odey’s investments are also carefully picked over. Recently he bet against Manchester United. He also demanded that one of his holdings, the German cable provider Sky Deutschland, get a better price from a bidder, BSkyB. That company is largely owned by 21st Century Fox, which is headed by his former father-in-law, Rupert Murdoch.
His profile grew as his flagship $2.3 billion Odey European fund gained 200 percent from the beginning of 2007 through last year, making it one of the best performers among London-based hedge funds despite faltering in 2011. By comparison, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index returned 30 percent in that period.
This year, his largely charmed run through the crisis came back to earth. In March, his fund fell nearly 8 percent, leaving it down 4.6 percent for the first quarter in what has been a volatile time for hedge fund managers. “The reversal in fortunes has been swift and the destruction intense,” Mr. Odey wrote in a letter to investors in March, adding, “We are down to hand-to-hand fighting.”
His fund has been weighed down by holdings like Sky Deutschland and D. R. Horton, the American home builder.
Anthony Lawler, an executive at GAM, a firm that oversees portfolios of hedge funds for institutional clients, said a number of such funds were hurt by “price reversals in many of the widely held equity long positions from last year,” adding that selling by money managers “fed on itself and led to some painful losses.”
Mr. Odey, gregarious and whimsical in an English gentleman sort of way, concedes as much. “All of us were in what you would call the momentum stocks,” he said in an interview.
Today, he sees the market at a crossroads: “The world economy could turn in many different ways.” Quantitative easing — the purchase of bonds and other financial instruments by central banks to stimulate economies — has been only modestly effective and credit growth has been surprisingly weak, while the business model of banks has become ever more difficult.
He expects more of an American recovery this year, more stagnation in Europe and a reckoning in China, which will be painful for emerging markets.

“China will crumble,” he wrote in his letter.

He is also critical of the status quo in Europe. He once backed the Conservative Party, but now speaks warmly of Nigel Farage, the leader of an increasingly popular party that wants Britain to leave the European Union. “I would rather we were out of Europe,” Mr. Odey said. “It’s probably a protest vote at this point.”
He plays well the patricianly British financial baron. He was educated at Oxford. He wears suspenders. He is engaging and candid, a flurry of activity during an interview. His left hand would reach over his head to scratch his right temple, his right hand would massage his neck, leaving his hair in various states of array and disarray, then both arms would wave for emphasis.
Drawings for Crispin Odey’s “chicken house” depicted a structure with a three-sided stairway and two dozen columns. 
Drawings for Crispin Odey’s “chicken house” depicted a structure with a three-sided stairway
 and two dozen columns.
Ups and downs are nothing new. He was born into old money — his father and grandfather ran a leather goods and chemicals company, Barrow Hepburn & Gale. But his father lost his job and ran up debts, forcing Mr. Odey to sell the family estate....MORE
HT: The Reformed Broker

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