LONDON JPMorgan Chase
& Co. made some members of its metals sales desk in London
redundant this past week in the latest in a series of
departures from major banks and brokerages, market sources have
told AMM sister publication Metal
Deutsche Bank AG senior options
trader Russell Plackett and other members of the trading team
have also left in recent weeks, market sources said April
"The last time we had a string
of departures like this was back in 2008," a source at a
Category I brokerage told Metal Bulletin.
Other recent departures include
Goldman Sachs metals trader Scott Evans, who left the
companys New York office earlier this month.
Four base metals traders also
left brokerage firm Marex Spectron in February, while managing
director and global head of sales Gavin Prentice left the firm
last month. Nick Riley, Steve Lawson and Paul Yates are rumored
to be joining ED&F Man Holdings Ltd., while Martin Thompson
is thought to be retiring, the broker said.
The latest departures at
JPMorgan come as the bank and rivals, including Goldman Sachs,
continue to reduce their exposure to commodities markets,
responding to falling revenues from activities in the
Goldman Sachs daily
value-at-risk in commodities was $22 million in 2012, down by
nearly a third from the previous year. During the same period,
revenues from commodities fell to $575 million, down from $1.58
billion in the previous year.
JPMorgan does not provide a
breakdown of its performance in individual markets, but its
total exposure in "commodities and other" assets, as measured
by daily value-at-risk, was $15 million in the first quarter of
the year, down 29 percent year on year.
But while the redundancies on
the sales desk reflect weaker conditions in commodities
markets, they should also be viewed in light of the banks
investment in its electronic trading platform, a source at a
Category I bank told Metal Bulletin.
"Commodities have gone out of
fashion this year, but the other side of it is you just
dont need that many people on the phones to take orders
anymore. A lot of the clients who are doing smaller volumes can
do so exclusively on the screen now," he said.
"Obviously, you need those guys
to win new business, but in this environment, theres not
really much business to win," he added.
JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank
declined to comment.
A version of this article was first
published by AMM sister publication Metal