SINGAPORE Jan 10 Goldman Sachs Group Inc
has hired veteran oil trader Quek Chin Thean to head its
commodities trading team in Asia-Pacific, a spokeswoman for the
Wall Street bank said.
The appointment of Quek comes as investment banks are under
pressure to comply with stringent Dodd-Frank regulations aimed
at limiting excessive risk-taking by banks after the 2008
financial crisis, while struggling to keep their market share in
the lucrative commodities market.
"Perhaps Goldman is contemplating going back into physical
oil trading in a big way as a strategy post Dodd-Frank," said an
oil industry observer.
"The Dodd-Frank act has really got the U.S. banks at its
sides. They have to recast their activities to comply with it."
Quek will be based in Singapore and is due to start in
March, Goldman spokeswoman Connie Ling said.
Goldman said in October significantly lower revenues from
commodities dragged down its trading businesses in the third
quarter, singling out weak performance by a unit that had once
been a pride of Wall Street's biggest investment bank.
Trade in physical markets helps to ease the impact of the
regulation and provides a buffer to the bank's business model
that has been hit by generally lower interest in derivatives
trade over the past few years.
Goldman has developed a physical metals trading desk in the
past few years and already owns warehousing operations licensed
by the London Metal Exchange.
In November, Quek resigned from his position as the chief
executive of Chinese oil trader Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings)
Ltd's Singapore unit.
Quek, previously global head of fuel oil trading at BP
, moved with his team to Brightoil in 2010.
In the two years at Brightoil, Quek and his fuel oil team
dominated the fuel oil derivatives market in Singapore, trading
a total volume of 17.27 million tonnes in the year to June 2012,
more than double that of its nearest rival BP at 8.72 million
Brightoil also became the second-largest bunker supplier by
volume in Singapore in 2011, according to the Maritime Port
Authority of Singapore. But its profits fell, with some analysts
saying the company's expansion moves came too quickly.