Trafigura's Galena Hedge Fund CEO Letchford Exiting Company

  • Duncan Letchford was member of Trafigura's management board
  • Latest in string of high profile departures at trading house

Duncan Letchford, chief executive officer of Trafigura Pte Ltd.’s hedge fund Galena Asset Management, is leaving the company, the latest high-profile departure from the commodity trading house.

Letchford, who has served as a member of Trafigura’s management board since August 2012, is leaving to pursue other interests, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed in an e-mail. Letchford took over the role of Galena CEO in March 2014 from Jeremy Weir, who became CEO of Trafigura after co-founder Claude Dauphin was diagnosed with cancer. Dauphin died in September.

Letchford is the third senior executive to leave Trafigura in six months. His exit follows the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Pierre Lorinet, who left in September, and Simon Collins, the former head of metals who departed in May.

Letchford, a British national, joined Trafigura in 2005 and previously served as chief investment officer and portfolio manager for Galena. The former metals trader didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Galena, the trading house’s hedge fund arm, had assets under management of $2.2 billion as of September 2014, according to Trafigura’s annual report. The flagship Galena Metal Fund is down 4.5 percent this year, heading for its first annual loss since 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fund has made money in nine out of 10 years since it was started in 2005.

Tough Year

Hedge funds, banks and traders have struggled to make profit from industrial metals this year as a slowing Chinese economy curbed demand and sent prices to the lowest level in more than six years. The London Metal Exchange index of six industrial metals has slumped 27 percent this year, heading for the biggest decline since 2008.

Hedge funds betting on commodities are also heading for their worst performance in seven years, after losing 4.6 percent in the first 10 months of 2015, according to Newedge Commodity Trading index, which tracks the performance of raw-material trading strategies including equities and physical products.

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