Wells Fargo hires senior gas trader from Mercuria

Other hires at Cargill, Millennium Management and Xcel Energy

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Wells Fargo has hired the former head of physical natural gas trading for the US and Mexico at Mercuria, in the US bank's latest move to deepen its presence in the commodity markets. Brent Trefz resigned from his position at the Switzerland-based commodity trading house in early April and will be joining Wells Fargo on May 9, sources familiar with the situation say.

Trefz worked for JP Morgan prior to joining Mercuria in 2014 as part of the trading house's acquisition of the Wall Street bank's physical commodities trading business. He became head of Mercuria's US and Mexico physical gas desk last year, replacing Pat Strange, the one-time head of JP Morgan's North American gas business, who also joined Mercuria as part of the deal. At Wells Fargo, Trefz will be a director in the physical gas sector, one source says.

Last year, Wells Fargo opened a metals desk in London and hired Troy Black – previously the head of commodity sales for the Americas at Barclays – as its Houston-based head of commodities sales. Wells Fargo has also been building up its clearing business in over-the-counter derivatives.

Both Wells Fargo and Mercuria declined to comment.

Gunvor, Glencore nab Mercuria power traders

Emeric de Vigan joined the London office of Gunvor in March, a spokesperson for the Switzerland-based commodity trading house says. Prior to the move, de Vigan served as a senior power trader with Mercuria in London. He had joined Mercuria as part of the firm's acquisition of JP Morgan's physical commodities trading business in 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Separately, Aaron Lally has joined the London office of Switzerland-based commodity trading house Glencore, says a source familiar with the situation. Previously, he worked as a London-based European power and gas trader at Mercuria, and before that he held a similar role at Barclays. It is believed that Lally left Mercuria in February and joined Glencore in March. Glencore declined to comment.

Xcel hires former Wall Street energy traders

Minnesota-based electric utility Xcel Energy has hired a pair of energy traders with backgrounds at Citi and Morgan Stanley as part of an effort to expand its trading operations, a source familiar with the firm's plans says.

David Green, a five-year veteran of Citi's commodities unit, joined Xcel in April as head of natural gas trading and origination, the source says. In his new role, Green will work to build and manage the proprietary natural gas marketing and trading business for Xcel's wholesale power and gas markets team, his LinkedIn profile states. Before joining Citi, Green traded energy for Infinium Capital Management, the now-defunct high-frequency trading firm, and Citadel, the multistrategy hedge fund, both of which are based in Chicago.

Market sources say Xcel has also hired Alfred Schulz, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley, as a senior originator with its wholesale power and gas trading and origination desk. Schulz worked at Morgan Stanley from 2000 to 2012, then led his own renewable energy firm, TC Partners, for the next four years, before joining Xcel in March, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Both new hires are expected to report to Bryce Schneider, senior director of trading and origination, a market source said. Xcel declined to comment.

Millennium hires ex-Citadel portfolio manager

Millennium Management, the New York-based multistrategy hedge fund with more than $32 billion in assets under management, has continued its push into commodities by hiring Dhananjay Khaitan, a former portfolio manager at Citadel.

Khaitan worked at Citadel from 2005 to 2015, most recently as a portfolio manager in natural gas, crude oil and quantitative strategies, according to his LinkedIn profile. He joined Millennium in recent weeks as a portfolio manager, sources say. A spokesperson for Millennium confirmed Khaitan's hire, but declined to comment further.

Other recent Millennium hires include Adam Lewis, former director of natural gas options at Citi, who joined the fund in January as a Houston-based portfolio manager, and Andrew Dodson, former head of non-US oil trading at Brazilian bank BTG Pactual, who joined the fund as a London-based portfolio manager in December, sources say.

Cargill hires Trafigura energy trader

gregory-broussardCargill has hired Gregory Broussard (pictured) to join its Houston office as a director of energy risk management, a spokesperson for the Minnesota-based commodity trading firm says. In his new role at Cargill, he reports to Brian Jenisch, the firm's managing director of energy risk management in Houston.

Broussard left his previous job as an energy derivatives trader at Trafigura, the Netherlands-based commodity trading house, in March, after having worked there for three years, according to his LinkedIn profiles. Before joining Trafigura, Broussard spent nearly seven years at Citi.

Also in March, Cargill promoted Mike Newman to lead its North America power and gas business, a spokesperson says. Previously, he had worked as Cargill's general manager for natural gas. Based in Houston, he replaced Jan Dieleman, who left the position to assume leadership of Cargill's ocean transportation business, headquartered in Geneva.

Separately, Doug Christie left his position as head of Cargill's cotton business in March after a 29-year career with the company. The global cotton industry has experienced a period of stagnant demand and prices due to uncertain economic conditions and China's restriction on cotton imports. A Cargill spokesman confirmed the departure, but declined to comment further.

Citi analyst starts hedge fund

Ivan Szpakowski has left his position as a Hong Kong-based commodity analyst at Citi to become chief investment officer of Academia Capital, a new alternative macro hedge fund, sources say. Szpakowski worked for Citi from 2013 to 2016, and before that for Credit Suisse, according to his LinkedIn profile. A spokesman for Citi confirms Szpakowski left the bank in March. Szpakowski did not respond to requests for comment.

Eneco hires senior power trader

jorn-oortwijnJorn Oortwijn (pictured) has returned to Eneco as a senior trader at the Rotterdam headquarters of Netherlands-based power and gas firm Eneco, after spending just under four years as a senior European power trader at Dong Energy in Copenhagen, an Eneco spokesperson says. Oortwijn, who rejoined Eneco in February, will cover European spot markets.

Noble options trader joins brokerage

Scott Palmer joined OTC Global Holdings in April as a power and gas options broker, a spokesperson for the company says. Palmer, whose role will involve developing buy-side clients, will work for the Choice Power division of the Houston-based commodities brokerage.

Prior to joining OTC Global Holdings, Palmer was a vice-president of power options at Noble Americas, the North American arm of Hong Kong-based global commodities trading house Noble Group. Palmer, who worked at Noble for eight months starting in March 2015, focused on trading and managing large structured transactions for the company's portfolio of power and gas options. He also had previous jobs as a power and gas trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citi.

Ex-Citi power trader joins CME Group

Thushan Perera joined CME Group in March as a Houston-based director of client development and sales, a source familiar with the situation says. Perera had spent more than seven years at Citi, most recently as a western US power trader, before leaving the bank in November. CME Group declined to comment.

CFTC hires first head of customer education

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has hired Dan Rutherford as its first director of the Office of Customer Education and Outreach, the agency said in an April 13 statement. His role will involve helping consumers identify potential fraud.

Prior to joining the CFTC, Rutherford worked in a similar role at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has also worked for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and for Kiplinger, the Washington, DC-based personal finance publisher.

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