Odey AM ropes in Newton manager for emerging markets foray

Robert Marshall-Lee joins as eponymous founder Crispin Odey prepares to step back

Odey's shrinking fund takes big bet on UK debt


Odey Asset Management has roped in Newton Investment Management’s Robert Marshall-Lee for its first foray into emerging markets.

Set to join in March 2021 Marshall-Lee will lead a new global emerging markets team at Brook Asset Management, a new subsidiary under the Odey umbrella, managing long-only funds.  

He had been at Newton IM for over 21 years, managing the £255.7m BNY Mellon Global Emerging Markets since 2011 and taking up the reins of the £128.3m BNY Mellon Oriental fund in 2019. 

Both strategies are first quartile over one, three and five years, according to data from Trustnet, with BNY Mellon Global Emerging Markets returning 122.3% versus the IA Global Emerging Markets average of 73.5% over five years.  

The firm said in a press release Marshall-Lee’s high conviction, fundamental stock picking and long-term investment approach would be “highly complementary” to Odey Asset Management’s philosophy and culture. 

Marshall-Lee is the latest in a string of managers to depart BNY Mellon this year. Star manager Nick Clay and his three-strong global income team defected to RWC in March and more recently Emma Mogford joined Premier Miton to replace short-serving UK equities manager Eric Moore.

In October, Newton appointed Paul Birchenough and Ian Smith to its emerging market and Asian equities franchise.

Odey makes first external hire since re-branding

Marshall-Lee marks the first external appointment since Odey Asset Management announced a radical overhaul of the business as its eponymous founder Odey faces an impending trial over an alleged indecent assault from 1998 

Earlier this month the Mayfair hedge fund boutique announced Odey would be relinquishing his duties as co-CEO after three decades in charge to focus entirely on managing his funds, leaving Timothy Pearey as the sole chief executive. Simultaneously the firm announced it would be creating a separate entity, Brook AM.

Reports had been swirling since August that Odey Asset Management was hatching a contingency plan ahead of Odey’s assault trial, including the closure of his flagship European fund, which would be set into motion if he is convicted. 

In July the firm hired Jos Trusted as head of institutional business, tasking him with developing a new institutional and international product offering. 

That same month Odey, who is married to Jupiter chairwoman Nichola Pease, was charged by the Crown Prosecution Service for allegedly groping a female banker in her 20s at his home in Chelsea in July 1998 following a work meeting. 

Odey has pleaded not guilty to the charge and the case has been adjourned for a two-day trial on 17 and 18 February at Hendon Magistrates Court. 

Odey AM CEO touts ‘exciting time’ in firm’s evolution

CEO Pearey said Marshall-Lee was joining at an “exciting time in the firm’s development”.

“At Odey Asset Management we offer portfolio managers the autonomy to manage their funds and their analyst teams independently – without internal interference or the distraction of business management – ensuring they are free to maximise returns for their clients. 

“This barristers’ chambers style environment, in conjunction with our significant business infrastructure, has been critical to persuading Robert where best to develop his franchise over the long term.” 

See also: Adrian Courtenay: ‘Odey Asset Management is like a barristers’ chambers’

Marshall-Lee echoed Pearey’s sentiment, adding that Odey Asset Management’s “great equity franchise and very ambitious business development strategy” would be a good fit for the emerging markets franchise.

“Participating in such a highly intellectual investment environment and supported by a long-established business infrastructure will allow my team and me to develop our emerging markets funds with full autonomy and a strong focus on client care,” Marshall-Lee said. “I greatly look forward to developing our franchise with the Odey team over the coming years.”


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