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by Derek Loosvelt | January 24, 2011


It wasn't that long ago that landing a job at a hedge fund (and/or starting one) was the gold at the end of the financial services career rainbow. Today, though, while some hedge funds are adding assets, others are losing their luster -- many are currently involved in alleged insider trading investigations. In the meantime, previously underappreciated jobs like trading gold, silver, copper, tin, nickel and other metals have gained in desirability. As well is in pay.

Metals traders "earned as much as 20 percent more" in 2010 versus 2009, "with the most-profitable getting $2 million to $3 million." And they're "setting up for another banner year."

"Zinc will gain as much as 21 percent this year and copper 12 percent, according to the median estimates of as many as 27 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News in December." As a result, more metals traders will be "earning seven figures than normal."

There's already been an increase in commodities trader hiring on Wall Street. At the end of 2010, UBS said it "would double the size of its commodities group, while Citigroup Inc. and Standard Chartered Plc said they also plan to hire. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. expanded its team last year and Societe Generale SA secured 130 power and gas specialists after buying assets from RBS Sempra Commodities LLP. Sempra sold other commodity businesses to JPMorgan."

Of course, not all commodity traders have been hitting it out of the park as of late. Due to that Volckin' Volcker Rule, "some commodity units were diminished by curbs on proprietary trading."

Still, given that "metals traders are an exception when there's pressure on banks to cut remuneration," according to Peter Henry of Commodity Search Partners Ltd, and thus these traders are "making more money than other parts of the banks and the bonuses reflect that," it could be time to ditch your dreams of hedge fund glory and consider a career in aluminum.



Filed Under: Finance