UPDATE 1-Against the trend, Citi boosts commodities trading

Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:31am EST

LONDON Nov 14 (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc is increasing its commodities and energy team with a new head of corporate sales and other key executives joining from rivals BNP Paribas and Barclays.

The move comes at a time when many other banks have been pulling out of commodities after a period of losses and narrowing margins.

Dozens of traders have quit banks such as Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch to firms such as Glencore, Vitol, Gunvor and Mercuria.

Limits on proprietary trading, new capital requirements and tighter regulations have squeezed banks' commodities operations, with several lenders, including Goldman, Morgan Stanley, reported to be considering cutting or selling their commodities operations.

But Citi is moving in the other direction with several high profile appointments to strengthen its commodities trading and risk management. Industry sources say Citi also aims to increase its dollar-based commodity trade financing operations.

Jose Cogolludo, formerly with BNP Paribas, joined Citi as global head of corporate sales on Nov. 1, reporting to Stuart Staley, global head of commodities, the bank said in a statement.

Fasil Nasim, also previously with BNP Paribas, will join Citi mid-month as head of corporate energy sales, while Ron Ruffini joins Citi as head of Latin American sales and mid/downstream oil sales for the Americas from Barclays, it said.

"With these important additions to our sales team, we have made significant strides in strengthening our commodities platform," Staley said in a statement.

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