Barclays head of spot gold trading leaves bank - sources

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays’ head of spot gold trading is leaving as part of the bank’s restructuring and its exit from the commodity business, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Tuesday.

A man shelters under umbrellas as he walks past a Barclays branch in central London May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Marc Booker’s exit leaves Martyn Whitehead, Barclays’ global head of metals and mining sales, as the bank’s only representative listed with the London Gold Market Fixing company. Barclays is one of the four banks that contributes to the twice-a-day price setting process for the globally recognised benchmark.

But there has also been speculation about Whitehead’s future at the bank.

“I have a job for the year. I have been working for Barclays for 13 years, and I will continue to do my job at Barclays,” he told Reuters when asked about the speculation.

Barclays said in April it was exiting most commodities businesses but would continue in precious metals.

A spokeswoman for Barclays declined to comment on the matter. Booker could not immediately be reached.

His exit follows the departure earlier in the year of Jonathan Spall, product manager for metals at the bank, and that of other commodity staff.

With regulatory scrutiny showing no signs of abating and cost pressures still elevated, the commitment of banks to the precious metals benchmarks is being questioned by the industry.

The other banks involved in the gold-setting process are HSBC, Societe Generale and Bank of Nova Scotia. A former fifth member of the fix, Deutsche Bank, resigned on May 12 without a replacement.

Meanwhile, the 117-year old London silver price fix set by Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia will cease on Aug. 14. The London Bullion Market Association has launched consultation on a possible alternative.

Editing by Veronica Brown and Jane Baird