LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - The London Metal Exchange (LME) has approved the brokerage arm of U.S. investment bank Jefferies Group as a Category 1, or ring-dealing member, the exchange said on Tuesday.
The LME did not say when Jefferies Bache would start trading as a Category 1 member. When it does, it will become one of a dozen top-tier members with the right to trade on the open-outcry ring, electronic LMESelect and the telephone market.
The move is another step in Jefferies' push into the global commodities markets as it takes advantage of a retreat by European banks, which are reining in exposure to capital-intensive commodities as the euro zone debt crisis deepens.
Sources said it had snapped up free-agent floor traders from Natixis Commodity Markets after the French bank decided to wind down its commodities brokerage business and downgrade its membership to a Category 2.
It has also poached a set of metals traders from global broker and LME ring rival Newedge, which is owned by two of France's top banks.
Jefferies already has Category 2 LME membership, which entitles it to all the privileges of ring-dealing members except that it may not trade in the ring.