Sophia Whitbread, the only female portfolio manager at Odey Asset Management, has resurfaced at fund group Ninety One following the collapse of Crispin Odey’s hedge fund.
Whitbread joined Odey’s eponymous business in June 2021 from Newton Investment Management to help launch Brook Asset Management.
The emerging markets subsidiary has since been wound up after Odey was accused of sexual harassment and assault by 20 women — which he has denied — sending his fund empire crashing down.
A spokesperson for Ninety One confirmed Whitbread had joined as global financials analyst in January.
Whitbread was the sole female portfolio manager in Odey’s firm. She took the reins of the Brook Global Emerging Markets fund in June 2022 following the departure of Rob Marshall-Lee, her former colleague at Newton IM, who left Brook AM after one year.
While her male colleagues at Odey AM, including James Hanbury and Oliver Kelton, saw their funds rehoused at rival boutiques in the City, Whitbread’s strategy was liquidated amid dwindling assets.
Her fund was up 5% in the weeks after the accusations against Odey emerged in June 2023, according to Bloomberg, but this was not enough to deter outflows. Brook Global Emerging Markets’ assets had plunged to $33m by the end of July from a peak of $104m earlier in 2023.
Whitbread spent more than 15 years at BNY Mellon subsidiary Newton IM where she began her career as a global equity analyst in 2005. She also had a brief stint working as an analyst at Baillie Gifford.
Odey AM announced it would be closing its doors in October 2023, five months after the allegations emerged against founder Odey.
Partners in the business earned a bumper pay day before Odey was hit by the claims, which were first uncovered in a joint investigation by the Financial Times and Tortoise Media on 8 June 2023.
Profit at the Mayfair firm more than tripled to £63.9m for the year ended 5 April 2023, as Odey’s funds saw a turnaround in performance, Financial News reported.
The Financial Conduct Authority said in December it had ended its investigation into Odey AM and would not take any action against the business.
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