With more than 96% of its assets evaporating in the withering heat of the credit crisis and its manager running for the exit, Odey Asset Management has liquidated its Japan & General fund, once its largest.
The fund, which had fallen from a high of US$1.2 billion to less than $40 million in assets over the past two years, had been battered by its investments in Japanese banks, which have been hurt by the credit crisis. The fund was down 14.2% this year after plummeting 25.7% last year and 10% in 2006, leading to massive redemptions. Even more investors headed for the exit with the departure in March of the fund’s manager, Alex Griffiths.
“This fund has simply performed too badly for two years, and therefore it is in everybody’s interest to move on,” Odey CEO David Stewart said. He added that, while the firm remains interested in Japan, it lacks the right manager to keep a fund focused on the company running.
Stewart said that the fund’s few remaining investors would receive their money back in two weeks.
The speedy decline of the Odey Japan fund due to bad bets in the credit crisis stands in stark contrast to the firm’s flagship Odey European fund, led by firm founder Crispin Odey. That fund bet against banks, riding the credit crisis to a 54.8% return last year and a 7.6% return this year through April.