Hedge fund firm Odey parts company with banks analyst

LONDON, April 5 Thu Apr 5, 2012 11:34am EDT

LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - Odey Asset Management, the London-based hedge fund firm famous for its bets on the banking sector during the financial crisis, has parted company with its senior banks analyst, Ben Lambert.

Lambert, who joined the $6 billion asset manager headed by Crispin Odey in 2007, resigned as a director this week, according to a regulatory filing.

Odey, one of Europe's best-known hedge fund managers, hit the headlines during the credit crisis for short-selling banks such as Bradford & Bingley, which was later nationalised, and Investec.

He then correctly called the start of a bull market in 2009, just months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and made millions after buying into UK bank Barclays, whose shares rocketed 150 percent from the start of the year to end-August.

However, the firm's $1.3 billion European fund, which has been an investor in Barclays, Bank of Ireland and Wells Fargo according to Thomson Reuters data, lost 20.6 percent last year, hurt by its bullish positioning. During August alone the firm's MAC fund dropped 13 percent.

A spokeswoman for Odey confirmed that Lambert had left the firm, but no-one at Odey was available to give further details.

Lambert previously worked at UBS as an analyst covering UK and Irish banks, before being hired by ABN Amro, then working at hedge fund start-up WMG.

Separately, a regulatory filing shows that founder Crispin Odey sold 1.67 million pounds ($2.65 million) worth of units in his OEI Mac fund at the start of this week.

So far this year Odey has been one of the industry's best performers as the European Central Bank's 1 trillion euro ($1.31 trillion) cash injection, designed to head off another credit crunch, has boosted assets across the board.

To mid-March Odey European is up 21 percent, profiting from bets on banks and media stocks.

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