December 17, 2019 / 11:48 AM / a month ago

Morgan Stanley restarts its base metals business - sources

FILE PHOTO: A sign is displayed on the Morgan Stanley building in New York U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS.N) is building up its base metals trading business after abandoning it four years ago, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The move comes as rising volumes and volatility in industrial metals have boosted revenues for investment banks after years of lacklustre market conditions.

Morgan Stanley, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has hired around four people in London including Daniel Levene from rival JPMorgan (JPM.N) and Ryan McCartney from trading house Trafigura and plans to add more staff, the sources said.

It will focus on market making and services for clients such as hedging, the sources said.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

The bank closed its base metals trading desks around the end of 2015 as part of a plan to cut up to 25 percent of jobs in its fixed income and commodities division, Reuters reported at the time.

It remains a Category 2 or Associate Broker Clearing member of the London Metal Exchange, the world’s largest and oldest platform for the trade of metals.

According to consultancy Coalition, higher income from base metals helped drive a 45 percent increase in commodities-related revenue last year at the 12 biggest investment banks, of which Morgan Stanley is one.

Reporting by Peter Hobson, Julia Payne and Zandi Shabalala; editing by Veronica Brown and David Evans

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