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The small firm providing refuge to banks’ commodities traders

Trading-gold

Freepoint Commodities, the trading firm set up by former RBS Sempra employees, has been providing much needed opportunities to an increasing number of professionals fleeing investment banking.

Jonathan Pietila, who was most recently a trader at BNP Paribas, joined as European continental power trader in May, while Veronika Gius, who was a commodity sales professional at Barclays, has also joined to cover energy origination.

This follows a series of appointments in April from Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s commodities team including energy trader Eiker Schick, Rob Bullyment as senior energy originator and gas analyst Mike Joyner.

Freepoint has been on an expansion drive in Europe since the establishment of a London office in 2012, when it poached largely from JPMorgan for a series of senior appointments.

Commodities desks have particularly suffered within investment banks over the past year, as firms decided that it was too expensive to run in a world where regulators are demanding ever tighter capital ratios. Senior traders have therefore looked to alternative career options – usually within independent trading houses.

The option of working for a commodity-focused hedge fund also now seems less viable for banks’ traders, following the some high profile closures including Clive Capital, Higgs capital and Schroders’ Opus commodities fund.

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