“You are one of the pirates, and I’d like you to join my ship.” – Crispin Odey to Hugh Hendry
September 22, 2012 Leave a comment
“I moved to London in 1998 or 1999, and no one would employee me because again, I had this, I was not a master of any one discipline. I spent a year doing this, a year doing this, whatever, and so I was a generalist. and no one wanted a generalist. But it was perfect training for the role as a hedge fund manager.”
“But I was very fortunate that I met Crispin Odey. Who was perhaps the first or one of the first hedge fund pioneers in this country.”
“And I had dinner with him. And he said to me, he said “I think you are like us. You are one of the pirates, and I’d like you to join my ship.”
Hendry’s conviction and antagonistic tendency are the result of a life in which he has never conformed. The son of a Glasgow lorry driver, he always wanted out: “I knew that if I knuckled down I’d be in control of my destiny… and, for a kid from that background, your ticket into the middle classes was law or accountancy.” He chose accountancy, becoming the first member of his family and one of few pupils from his school to go to university (at Strathclyde). He was then the first non-Oxbridge graduate to get a job at the prestigious Edinburgh investment management firm, Baillie Gifford. But, as fearless then as he is now, he was labelled a troublemaker. After a move to the City, he became a frustrated nobody on a floor of 400 traders. Still he spoke up, but his voice wasn’t welcome and he was fired inside a month. It was only after a chance meeting with Crispin Odey, the millionaire grandee of the London hedge fund scene, that Hendry felt he belonged. “It was a meeting of minds,” says Hendry, who won awards as a fund manager with Odey’s outfit, after being hired in 1999. “He checked my references, got the message that I was a troublemaker, and said, ‘You’re one of us, you’re one of the pirates’.”
The same “pirate” who said, “I want to short people like me” in 2009 and when asked in 2012 “What did you mean by that?” , responded, “I still do. I have contempt for myself and it’s only justified by my equal contempt for others.”
And further explains what he means. As all pirates say…Arghhhh!