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FCA investigates Crispin Odey

FCA investigates Crispin Odey


The UK's Financial Conduct Authority is looking into whether hedge fund manager Crispin Odey is a 'fit and proper person' to work in financial services.

In a letter to the Treasury Select Committee dated 3 July, Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), told MPs that it has ongoing investigations into both Odey and Odey Asset Management (OAM).

"The current scope of the investigation into Mr Odey focuses on allegations that he dismissed OAM’s Executive Committee for an improper purpose," the letter says. "We are investigating whether Mr Odey is a fit and proper person to work in financial services and whether Mr Odey has failed to comply with the FCA’s conduct rules relating to integrity and acting with due skill, care and diligence."

Odey has been accused of sexually abusing or harassing 13 women over 25 years following an investigations by the Financial Times. Odey denies the allegations of sexual impropriety.

The letter continues: "We are investigating OAM for possible contraventions of the FCA’s Principles for Business for failing to conduct its affairs with due skill, care and diligence, and failing to take reasonable care to organise and control its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems and controls. The FCA is investigating whether or not these possible contraventions occurred in circumstances where it appears that OAM may have failed to have or risked failing to have a functional and compliant governance structure.

Rathi says the regulator's investigations were opened in mid-2021 and that its supervision of OAM since 2020 has been intensive.

However, in this matter the FCA considers "enforcement investigations to be the most appropriate and effective way to look into these matters and establish whether the circumstances suggesting serious misconduct are proven and what sanctions are appropriate, if they are."

"We have repeatedly and publicly set out that we expect firms to have a healthy culture, where people are able to speak up and challenge – an unhealthy culture can lead to poor governance and poor outcomes, engaging our statutory objectives. 

"You ask whether the threat of litigation affects our approach. I can confirm that when we first opened our investigation, we received a letter before claim from lawyers acting for Mr Odey threatening judicial review. We responded robustly to this. In the event, court proceedings were not commenced and we continued to investigate. Our investigations are well resourced, and we have significant legal expertise in-house. We can, and do, draw too on external counsel, where appropriate.

"We will of course consider legal arguments presented at any stage by those under investigation, as should any enforcement agency. However, a decision to investigate and on an investigation’s scope is driven by circumstances suggesting serious misconduct and the available evidence, without fear or favour."

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