On the gilded streets of Mayfair, few hedge fund managers are as blue-blooded and stereotypically British as Odey Asset Management.
In-keeping with this reputation, Odey has just hired Henry, Earl of Glamorgan for a position at the firm. Henry, also known as Robert Somerset or “Bobby Worcester”, is the 27-year-old son of the Duke of Beaufort (also called the Marquess of Worcester) and joined Odey earlier this month, according to the Financial Conduct Authority register. This is his first regulated role, although reports suggest he’s been working in hedge funds for a few years.
Odey, comparatively speaking, has a tendency to hire from the English upper classes. Partner Orlando Montagu is the son of the Earl of Sandwich, head of trading Ralph Beckett’s late father was the 4th Baron Grimthorpe, partner and fund manager James Grimston is a viscount and son of John Grimston, the 7th Earl of Verulam and partner Massey Roborough is a lord.
In many ways, hiring Robert is therefore in-keeping with tradition at the firm. He does, however, one day stand to inherit around £200m in property and investments – at least according to a blog about ‘Single Peers’ – so may not be in it for the money.
Still, hiring fund managers from privileged backgrounds may not be all it’s cracked up to be. A study published in August suggested that fund managers from the richest families produced returns 2.2% lower than those from poorer backgrounds.
Robert is the son of Henry John Fitzroy Somerset, Earl of Worcester and Tracy Worcester, who is an animal welfare activist. In a 2012 interview with the Independent, she didn’t exactly seem thrilled with her son’s choice of career.
“My attitude to that is, if you don’t understand the system, you can’t really criticise it,” she said. “What can you do? Absolutely nothing. But he’s going to go in and learn all about it and change the system from the inside. He’ll be a turncoat!”
Earl Henry/Robert joins Odey at a difficult time. Earlier this week, Odey revealed that it was “saying goodbye” to some its employees after its flagship fund fell by 49.5% over the past 12 months.