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Morgan Stanley commodities marketing head departs

The headquarters of Morgan Stanley is pictured in New York January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
The headquarters of Morgan Stanley is pictured in New York January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

By Jeanine Prezioso

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley's global head of commodities marketing, Boris Shrayer, has left the bank, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

Shrayer could not immediately be reached for comment at the bank's New York office and a spokesman for Morgan Stanley had no comment. The news was first reported on industry website SparkSpread.com.

Grant Brady, head of Americas corporate marketing, will take over some of Shrayer's responsibilities. Brady will report to Peter Sherk, head of North American gas and power trading in New York, and Michael Brennan, global head of oil trading in London, the source said.

Last month, Morgan Stanley said it would exit some agricultural products and European power and gas businesses, leading to the departure of around 30 traders.

In January, a managing director on Morgan Stanley's North American power and natural gas desk, left the bank. In September, three of the bank's European gasoline traders in Europe were set to join Swiss commodity trader Mercuria.

Wall Street banks have been shedding traders in recent years. Financial regulations in the Dodd-Frank Act and the Volcker Rule were designed to rein in excessive risk taking after the 2008 financial crisis, limiting revenue and bonuses in the sector.

Other regulations have sought to increase the amount of capital a bank must hold. Commodities trading is a capital-intensive business, requiring traders to put up millions of dollars at time in margin to secure trades.

On Wednesday, U.S. regulators proposed a plan that would force the country's largest banks to hold twice as much equity capital as is required by global regulations.

Morgan Stanley has long been one of the top five Wall Street banks in the commodity business.

The bank's physical assets have allowed it a bird's eye view of markets, providing an edge over competitors, said former executives, at times making it the envy of hedge funds and smaller trading shops that tried to replicate its success.

Just last year, Shrayer accepted an award on behalf of the bank for energy risk management and said its presence in physical commodities helped it "anticipate new market trends" and "remain on its toes" when it comes to assisting clients.

That conflicted with reports last year that the bank was looking to sell all or part of the business.

In October Chief Executive James Gorman said the bank had an obligation to explore "different structures" for its commodities trading business because new regulations were curbing the unit's trading activities.

In January, Gorman said the bank in the fourth quarter of 2012 posted its worst results in commodities trading since 1995.

Morgan Stanley may also be under pressure from the Federal Reserve over their ownership of physical commodity assets after its conversion to a financial holding company in 2008.

(Reporting By Jeanine Prezioso; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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