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Crispin takes £4m hit as Odey profit halves

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Crispin takes £4m hit as Odey profit halves

Crispin Odey's earnings have fallen by £4 million following another difficult year for his investment firm.

According to Odey Asset Management’s (OAM) full year accounts covering the 12 months to 5 April, Odey picked up £1.5 million over the year, a 72% decline from the £5.5 million in 2017.

OAM reported a 52% fall in profit from £18.7 million in 2017 to £8.8 million. A sharp decline in management fee income from £44.4 million to £29.3 million was a major factor behind the profit drop. 

The firm also saw a number of departures in 2018, including its head of trading, the Honourable Ralph Beckett, who was a partner and had been with the business for 18 years.  

Over the reporting period, the number of people employed by the firm fell from 69 to 52. Staff in its investment management dipped from 31 to 23, while its administration arm shed nine jobs, taking staff down to 29.

The latest set of numbers follow the downward trend for OAM in the past few years.

Three years ago, the firm registered a £143 million profit on performance fees of £58 million, with Odey taking home £48 million.

Performance fees were wiped out in 2017 after a torrid year for Odey’s flagship fund. They increased marginally from £60,000 to £385,000 last year.

Odey, a leading Brexiteer who donated nearly £1 million to the Leave campaign, has been impacted by his bearish bet on the UK economy, which included shorts on the pound and a raft of retailers. In November, Odey warned sterling could lose a fifth of its value if the UK exits Europe without striking a deal.

After initially failing to bear fruit, Odey’s plays have started to pay off, with his fund returning around 50% last year. 

Big calls to be rewarded include his short on shopping centre operator Intu, which slumped by 42% following the collapse of a proposed takeover. His £33 million bet against Debenhams has also boosted performance, with its shares down by around 85% in 2018. 

In an interview with Mail on Sunday at the end of last year, Odey said he expected his fund to be ‘up between 55% and 62%’ this year, which would place it top of HSBC’s European hedge fund annual rankings.

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