(Adds details, background)
By Eric Onstad and Clara Denina
LONDON, Sept 21 ICBC Standard Bank has reduced
its base metals business to cut costs, sources close to the bank
said on Wednesday, joining other financial institutions in
decreasing exposure to the out-of-favour commodities sector.
Six employees have left ICBC in recent weeks, including Mark
Thompson, head of base metals trading, and analyst Leon West
gate, three sources said. The bank was not immediately available
The move was part of an ongoing cost-cutting programme, the
ICBC Standard Bank was formed in February last year when
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's
biggest bank by assets, acquired a 60 percent stake in the
global markets business of South Africa's Standard Bank
It specialises in commodities, fixed income, currencies and
ICBC is one of China's so-called 'Big Five' state-owned
banks that recently warned that profits will continue to be
pressured in the second half of the year, as slowing growth in
the world's second-biggest economy hits borrowers and saps
In May, ICBC Standard Bank let go three precious metals
traders in New York and moved its Dubai business to London,
concentrating its activities in Europe and Asia, sources with
knowledge of the matter said.
Thompson, a former executive at trading house Trafigura's
asset management business, took his post at ICBC Standard Bank
in January after working in the metals and financial sector for
over two decades.
Thompson joined the bank from privately-owned miner Treliver
Minerals, where he was chief executive. Previously he was a
partner at Apollo Global Management and co-founder and chief
investment officer of Trafigura's asset management business.
(Additional reporting by Pratima Desai; Editing by Veronica
Brown and Elaine Hardcastle)