Bagri, Former LME Chairman and Titan of Metals Trading, Has Died

  • Bagri founded London’s Metdist Trading, a member of the LME
  • He was born in Calcutta and joined a trading firm at age 15

Raj Kumar Bagri, who rose from filing clerk at a Calcutta trading company to chairman of the London Metal Exchange, has died. He was 86.

He died on Wednesday morning, according to Nigel Dentoom, chief executive of CCBI Metdist Global Commodities (UK) Ltd., in which the Bagri family holds a 25 percent stake.

He was a member of Britain’s House of Lords and founded London-based Metdist Trading, which became a member of the LME in 1970. He became the first non-Briton to be chairman of the exchange in 1993.

Bagri, who was born in 1930 in Calcutta, started his career in the metals industry at an early age by joining a trading company at age 15.

“I found it fascinating. Whatever metal I saw, I liked. I used to volunteer to do the jobs of people who wanted to go home early,” he said in a 1992 interview with The Independent newspaper.

Metdist, which was the third-largest shareholder in the LME, gained 130 million pounds ($167 million) from the 2012 sale of the bourse to Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. In 2015, Metdist announced it was selling a controlling stake to China Construction Bank Corp., China’s second-largest lender, for an undisclosed sum.

“His influence and wisdom in skillfully guiding the LME are unrivaled,” Dentoom said. “Both the LME and the global physical markets will sadly miss this iconic metal legend.”

Bagri remained a trader to the end. When he regained consciousness after a long illness last week, his first question was asking his son, Apurv, what’s the price of copper, Dentoom said.

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