Russia's VTB Capital beefs up metals trading in Switzerland, China

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - The investment banking unit of Russia’s VTB has expanded its base metals and precious trading divisions with new hires in Switzerland and China, VTB Capital said in a statement.

Rising volumes and volatility in industrial metals have boosted revenues for investment banks after years of tepid market conditions.

Ivan Petev, previously at Castleton Commodities International, became the head of global base trading earlier this year, based in Zug, Switzerland. He replaces Charles Smith, who was in Hong Kong.

Castleton exited physical metals trading last year.

Russia’s second largest lender also said it had hired in Zug Andrew Jarvis, formerly at MRI Trading, as head of base metals for origination, and Leon Westgate, to run metals strategy.

“VTB Capital continues to expand physical trading and origination team in our energy and base metals business in Switzerland,” VTB said in a statement.

“To support this growth, we have also made key infrastructure hires in structuring, legal, risk, finance and logistics.”

The firm expanded its gold presence in Hong Kong last year to tap the Chinese market, which it views as one of its priority regions.

It hired Li Luo McKay, who was previously Executive Director of the Shanghai International Gold Exchange, as managing director and head of commodities origination in China.

Its base metals team in Hong Kong now consists of four traders, VTB said, including Cai Min, who was also previously at Castleton. (Additional reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Jan Harvey)