Morgan Stanley has closed its London base metals trading business as headhunters say the bank’s commodities trading operation has been disproportionately hit by the layoffs in its fixed income trading business.
The bank isn’t commenting on its redundancies, but headhunters and insiders say the base metals business has been closed with the loss of at least 10 jobs. The precious metals trading team will continue to operate.
It wasn’t long ago that Morgan Stanley was building up its broader commodities trading business. It hired Nigel Felgate from Bank of America Merrill Lynch as head of power and gas trading for Europe in November 2014. However, Felgate was no longer registered as working for the bank when we called – despite still working there according to the FCA Register.
Morgan Stanley also sold its oil trading business to Castleton Commodities in May.
Headhunters said Morgan Stanley’s commodities business has suffered particularly hard as the bank makes 25% of its fixed income staff redundant. It’s not just the traders who are being cut – a large number of commodities compliance staff are also said to have been let go.
By comparison, traders in areas like rates seem to have been comparatively unaffected. Only one, Michael Barron, is claimed to have exited so far. Barron remains at Morgan Stanley according to the FCA Register, but there was no answer at his desk when we called.
The closure of the base metals trading business follows the departure of Ben Cross, former global head of metals trading at the bank, last May.
Bloomberg reported that Morgan Stanley is cutting 1,200 fixed income jobs in total, of which 470 are in the front office.