Exclusive: Barclays loses commodities trading chief Jones to Mercuria

Fri May 4, 2012 5:07pm EDT
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By Christopher Johnson

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) has lost its commodities trading chief Roger Jones to Swiss trader Mercuria, one of the biggest in a series of moves by commodities traders from banks to less-regulated trading operations.

Dozens of traders have recently quit top commodities trading banks such as Barclays, Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote), Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote) and Merrill Lynch (BAC.N: Quote) to firms such as Glencore (GLEN.L: Quote), Vitol, Gunvor and Mercuria.

The outflow is driven by shrinking profits and tighter regulation of banking, which gives trading houses greater scope to trade and to reward success.

However, the departure of a figure of the caliber of Jones, who alongside Isabelle Ealet from Goldman Sachs and David Silbert from Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote), is seen as one of the most prominent figures in commodities trading in Europe, is rare.

Barclays has been a star of commodities trading among European banks over the past decade but was overtaken by Deutsche last year after sharp losses in metals.

However, Barclays' fixed-income, currencies and commodities (FICC) trading results were up 9 percent in the first quarter with commodities trading on the rise.

"Barclays' underlying commodities business remains strong and well diversified," said a source close to Barclays.

Jones will become the head of non-oil operations at Mercuria, a senior source close to the Swiss trading house said.   Continued...

A Barclays bank branch is seen in, central London on August 6, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico