Banks Accelerate Hiring of Commodity Traders

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"For top traders, especially investment bank traders, $1 million is not unexpected, it's easy to get."

Global banks are engaged in a hiring boom for commodity traders as they add staff to benefit from surging metals and energy prices, offering $1 million packages for top employees, recruiters Robert Walters Plc said.

There's "huge demand for physical traders," Gary Lai, manager of financial services at Robert Walters in Singapore, said today in an interview. "For top traders, especially investment bank traders, $1 million is not unexpected, it's easy to get," Lai said, referring to salaries and bonuses combined.

Banks including Bank of America Merrill Lynch are competing for commodity staff in Asia to increase trading revenues and attract clients' funds. Citigroup Inc. wanted "new blood" for its Asian team and was seeking to expand at a double-digit pace, Ananth Doraswamy, regional head of commodities, said on Aug 28.

"The reason why people are hiring again is because of anticipation that demand will come back as the world economy is starting to recover," Lai, 33, said in interviews with Bloomberg Television and a reporter. "I can show you that top traders can easily get Ferraris."

Robert Walters has handled about 100 commodity-related hires in Singapore and Hong Kong this year, said Lai, who joined the firm in 2004. "There's a commodity hiring boom from a lot of banks, as well as pure commodity firms," he said. That compares with about 200 cases in all of 2007 before the 2008 slump in commodity prices, he said.

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