Morgan Stanley signals renewed commodities expansion with senior hire from BAML

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In a reassuring sign that public pronouncements from investment banks that they’re retreating from certain business lines aren't permanent fixtures, Morgan Stanley has been hiring for commodities again.

The US bank has just hired Nigel Felgate as managing director and head of power and gas trading for Europe, according to sources close to the situation. Morgan Stanley confirmed the appointment.

Felgate joins from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he was head of emissions trading in London. He has been a managing director at the bank since May 2011 and was previously an executive director in JPMorgan’s commodities trading team for nearly five years.

Last year, like a number of investment banks, Morgan Stanley said that it was pulling back from certain areas of commodities. It shed 35 jobs, or around 10% of headcount in the division, and exited some Eastern European markets for power and gas, as well as shutting down its agricultural products division.

In 2014, though, this policy was reversed and it was reportedly hiring around 12 traders and sales staff for commodities. However, this was in the US and Felgate’s recruitment shows a new-found willingness to hire in Europe.

It does, however, follow the exit of Ben Ansellem, who was previously head of trading for power, gas and coal for Asia and Europe at Morgan Stanley, but left for hedge fund Citadel in September.

BAML, meanwhile, bit the bullet and closed its European gas and power trading desk in Europe at the beginning of this year, following a prolonged period of scaling back.

Felgate started his trading career as head of forward trading at British Energy in 2002, and moved to JPMorgan in July 2006.

He has a PhD from the University of Southampton and his thesis was on “blue light generation from all-solid state Nd:YAG lasers".


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