UK Accounting Glossary
The term “Jekyll and Hyde” is a metaphor for internal conflict, instability, deception, or multiple identities. Derived from the Robert Louis Stevenson novel “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” Jekyll and Hyde is used as either an adjective or a noun.
In the world of finance, Jekyll and Hyde can describe a variety of situations. A Jekyll and Hyde can be a security that shifts erratically in value; the members of a management team holding to multiple, mutually exclusive visions; a financial statement that appears healthy at first blush but crumbles under due diligence; an entire economy that may appear robust but is not; and other Jekyll and Hyde scenarios. When an investor refers to a security as Jekyll and Hyde, it is usually meant pejoratively and with a note of caution to be wary of that security. When a pro forma statement or market (for example) is deemed Jekyll and Hyde, the “Hyde” corresponds to the financially favourable veneer, while the “Jekyll” signifies the hidden unfortunate truth.
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This glossary post was last updated: 9th February 2020.