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Goldman Sachs metals chief to retire post LME sale

By Melanie Burton

SINGAPORE, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Stephen Branton-Speak, the head of metals trading at Goldman Sachs , is set to retire after 15 years and after playing a key role in steering the 1.4 billion pound ($2.25 billion) sale of the London Metal Exchange, sources told Reuters on Friday.

London-based Branton-Speak will step down from Goldman Sachs at the end of the year, said the sources who have direct knowledge of the staffing situation at the investment bank. Branton-Speak could not be reached for comment.

His exit comes at a time when investment banks are facing tough times with brokerage margins squeezed by electronic trade, and fewer large scale funds interested in metals as the growth boom in top metals consumer China fades.

The sale of the 135-year old LME to Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd 0388.HK (HKEx) was sealed in July and is set to complete later this year.

In addition to Branton-Speak, Goldman is losing London-based Managing Director Rohan Khurana who was at the bank for more than 13 years, said the sources, who could not be identified because they were not authorised to talk to the media. Khurana will relocate with Macquarie to Asia, they added.

Two base metals traders, Ben Green and Liam Brown, quit Goldman in January to join Mercuria, one of the world's top five energy traders.

After joining Goldman Sachs in 1997 as a metals trader, Branton-Speak became a managing director in 2006 and a partner in 2008.

He presided over the creation of a physical metals trading desk at Goldman Sachs in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, and as banks made a bid to offset the loss of income from the forced closure of proprietary trading desks due to stricter regulatory reforms.

Branton-Speak has been a board member of LME since 2009. He was also on the management committee of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). Prior to joining Goldman, Branton-Speak worked as a precious metals trader with Engelhard. ($1 = 0.6234 British pounds)

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)

((melanie.burton@thomsonreuters.com)(+65 6870 3017)(Reuters Messaging: melanie.burton.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: METALS/PEOPLE