MOVES-BTG Pactual loses top U.S. natural gas trader -sources

miércoles 30 de marzo de 2016 14:37 GYT

By Liz Hampton and Scott DiSavino

HOUSTON, March 30 (Reuters) - A top U.S. natural gas trader for Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual SA has left the company, two sources said on Wednesday, marking the second major departure from the firm's physical commodities business in the past month.

Rich Brockmeyer, who was also a partner at the firm's commodities arm, resigned earlier this week for another company, the sources said.

Brockmeyer joined BTG in July 2013 from Noble Group Ltd , where he worked as the Director of Natural Gas, according to his LinkedIn profile.

BTG officials declined to comment.

The departure comes at a tumultuous time for the investment bank, which is working to restore investor confidence after its founder, Andre Esteves, was arrested late last year in Brazil on suspicion of obstructing the country's sweeping corruption investigation that has ensnared top political and business leaders.

Although Esteves has since resigned as BTG's chief executive officer and chairman, his arrest prompted clients to pull some $1 billion in investments held at the bank's asset management division.

A prolonged rout in commodities prices has also created a tough environment for many trading shops, making it difficult for firms such as BTG to make profits.

In late February, Larry Greenhall, the company's head of grains, oilseeds and sugar trading left the company for unknown reasons. His exit came less than two months after that of Carl Desjardins, formerly BTG's head global grains trader, left to become chief trader at Olam International Ltd's grain division.

BTG Pactual in January reduced its headcount by cutting 18 percent of its Brazil-based staff, a move it expected would cut costs by some 25 percent. The firm has also sold off assets.

BTG launched its trading group, BTG Pactual Commodities, with $1 billion in equity capital from the bank in April 2013. The firm hired Ricardo Leiman, former CEO of Noble Group, to run its commodities operations. (Reporting by Liz Hampton in Houston and Scott DiSavino in New YOrk; Editing by Terry Wade and Marguerita Choy)