U.S. Markets close in 1 hr 10 mins

Newedge metal, energy traders leave as SocGen cuts headcount

General view of French bank Societe Generale headquarters buildings in the business district of La Defense, near Paris, August 7, 2012. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Societe Generale's (SOGN.PA) senior base metals trader, Mike Turek, and Natasha Flora, an energy trader, left the bank in New York on Thursday, as part of a wider retrenchment following the French bank's takeover of Newedge, two sources told Reuters.

The departures come as the French investment bank reduces headcount and cuts costs after buying the remaining 50 percent of Newedge, one of the world's top commodities brokerages, from Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA) in May.

The exit of two longstanding members of Newedge's commodities team were part of broader cuts to the newly merged financial futures desk in the United States and Europe, said two sources familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity.

They said four other staff members were let go on Thursday.

Societe Generale declined to comment.

It was the latest sign of upheaval among commodities futures brokers as stiffer regulation increases costs and profit margins are squeezed by intense competition for business and falling fees.

Newedge's smaller rival, ICAP (IAP.L), is exiting base metals broking business at the end of the year.

In base metals, transaction fee hikes planned by the London Metal Exchange have also increased the financial burden on brokers, who say they will struggle to pass on the higher surcharges to clients.

Turek was senior director of metals in New York, having joined in 2010. He had transferred to Societe Generale's metals desk in October.

Flora was associate director of Newedge's OTC energy desk, having joined just over a decade ago, according to her Linkedin profile. Before that, she was at AIG

With Newedge's metals team overlapping with SocGen, cutbacks were expected, sources said. In July, the two open outcry teams on the London Metal Exchange merged. [ID:nL6N0PL4ZS]

Commodities trading has become tougher this year as the market has fallen out of favor with investors who have been betting on meteoric demand growth from China for raw materials like copper and crude oil.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason, Catherine Ngai and Robert Gibbons; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)