By Melanie Burton
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Bank of China International (BOCI) has recruited former Goldman Sachs
Chinese banks are stepping away from mainly consumer-led business to take advantage of a tough climate for Western brokers - grappling with strict European and U.S. regulations - to expand their presence in natural resources, and trading in particular.
BOCI's appointment of Stephen Branton-Speak as an adviser is one of the highest profile metals industry hires by a Chinese bank since Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd <0388.HK> bought the London Metal Exchange (LME) for $2.2 billion in 2012.
Branton-Speak was also on the LME board.
The initial focus of the expansion will be on investor products and physical metals, Arthur Fan, London-based chief executive of BOCI Global Commodities, told Reuters.
BOCI is the investment banking arm of state-backed Bank of China <601988.SS> <3988.HK>, the country's No.4 lender by market value.
Last week, South Africa's Standard Bank
In December, a unit of China's Shenzhen-listed GF Securities <000776.SZ> applied to trade in the LME ring. Its local unit, GF Financial Markets Ltd, bought the commodities brokerage unit of Natixis
BOCI became the first Chinese member of the LME to much fanfare in 2012, but markets participants have said it has failed to build on momentum.
Branton-Speak built up Goldman Sachs' physical trading desk in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to become one of the giants on Wall Street, as banks made a bid to offset the loss of income from the forced closure of proprietary trading desks due to stricter regulatory reforms.
As one of the LME executive committee members, he also played a leading part in steering the LME's $2.2 billion sale before retiring in December of 2012.
Branton-Speak joined Goldman Sachs in 1997 as a metals trader, before became a managing director in 2006 and a partner in 2008. He was also on the management committee of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). He is also principal consultant with Calnic Commodity Consultancy, according to his LinkedIn page.
(Additional reporting by Eric Onstad in London, editing by William Hardy)