Morgan Stanley's commodities trading chief signs up to Citadel

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Morgan Stanley may be building its commodities business again, after a 10% headcount cull last year, but it’s still prone to losing senior traders to hedge funds. Ben Ansellem, who was promoted to head of trading for power, gas and coal at Morgan Stanley in only July last year, has now departed for Citadel.

Amsellem, who has held various senior commodities trading roles at Morgan Stanley including leading its agriculture business, joined Citadel earlier this month, according to filings on the Financial Conduct Authority register.

He was promoted to head of trading for power, gas and coal for Asia and Europe in July last year as part of a broader shake-up of Morgan Stanley’s fixed income business. Irene Otero-Novas was named sole head of its power, gas and coal business in Europe and Asia, with Amsellem reporting into her.

In 2013, Morgan Stanley said that it was exiting some Eastern European markets for power and gas, shutting down its agricultural products division and shedding 35 jobs in commodities, or 10% of its headcount, as it pulled back from the business.

However, this year Morgan Stanley is reportedly reversing this policy, but only in the US. It’s in the process of recruiting around 12 traders and sales staff in the region. Globally, Morgan Stanley was ranked third for commodities revenues during the first half of 2014, behind JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, according to data from research firm Coalition.

Citadel, meanwhile, has been on something of a recruitment spree from the large investment banks in London over the past few months.

Ulberto Palomba, Goldman Sachs’ co-head of emerging markets trading for EMEA, joined Citadel’s fixed income division in May, while Atif Ali, a financials research analyst from Citigroup, joined in June. Vidhi Lalchand, who was a quant analyst at Credit Suisse, signed up to Citadel as a high frequency trader in August as did Benjamin Griguer, a former rates trader at BNP Paribas, who joined the hedge fund as a fixed income trader.


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