Meet The Mysterious Firm That Is About To Leave Blythe Masters Without A Job

Tyler Durden's picture

It was about a month ago when it was revealed that the infamous JPMorgan physical commodities group, plagued by both perpetual accusations of precious metal manipulation and legal charges most recently with FERC for $410 million that it had manipulated electricity markets, was in exclusive talks to be sold to Geneva-based Marcuria Group. It was also revealed that Blythe Masters, JPMorgan’s commodities chief, "probably won’t join Mercuria as part of the deal." Of course, we all learned the very next day that Ms. Masters - an affirmed commodities market manipulator - and soon to be out of a job, had shockingly intended to join the CFTC trading commission as an advisor, a decisions which was promptly reversed following an epic outcry on the internet. This is all great news, but one thing remained unclear: just who is this mysterious Swiss-based company that is about to leave Blythe without a job?

Today, courtesy of Bloomberg we have the answer: Mercuria is a massive independent trading behemoth, with revenue surpassing a stunning $100 billion last year, which was started less than ten years ago by Marco Dunand and Daniel Jaeggi, who each own 15% of the firm's equity. And it probably should come as no surprise that the company where the two traders honed their trading skill is, drumroll, Goldman Sachs.

Dunand and Jaeggi first met studying economics at the University of Geneva in the late 1970s. Their friendship was galvanized a few years later working for grain trader Cargill Inc. and sharing an apartment while on a training course in Minneapolis. Mercuria’s corporate strategy and culture have reflected the professional paths of its founders, who spent the bulk of their early careers at investment banks.



They left Cargill in 1987 for Goldman Sachs’s J. Aron unit in London. They stayed until 1994, then joined Phibro for a five-year stint when it was controlled by Salomon Brothers.


That experience defined the trading strategies of Dunand and Jaeggi who moved from Phibro to start Sempra’s European and Asian trading business in 1999 before founding Mercuria in 2004.


Without a commanding position in any region or commodity, the firm has sought out bottlenecks and imbalances in niche markets and positioned itself to make money trading derivatives using insights gained from its physical trading. In its early days it profited by opening a trade route shipping Russian crude to China from Gdansk, Poland.


Mercuria also differs in tone. At its headquarters on Geneva’s poshest shopping street, traders and executives wear open-collared shirts, sweaters and jeans, a sharp contrast to the shirt-and-tie policies at more established firms.

Not surprisingly, some of the key hires in the past couple of years as the firm expanded at a breakneck pace and added some 570 people, bringing its total headcount to 1,200, were from Goldman: "The hires include Houston-based Shameek Konar, a former managing director with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. who is chief investment officer overseeing Mercuria’s corporate development, including the JPMorgan negotiations. Victoria Attwood Scott, Mercuria’s head of compliance, also joined from Goldman Sachs." We find it not at all surprising that the Goldman diaspora is once again showing JPMorgan just how it's done.

So just how big is Mercuria now? Well, it is almost one of the biggest independent commodities traders in the world:

Mercuria traded 182 million metric tons of oil or oil equivalent in 2012, according to its website. Vitol, the largest independent oil trader, handled 261 million and Trafigura traded 102.8 million tons of oil and petroleum products. Brent crude rose 3.5 percent that year in a fourth annual advance. It slipped 0.3 percent in 2013 and is down 2.6 percent this year at about $108 a barrel.


With more trading companies trying to gain an edge by owning businesses that produce, store or process commodities, Mercuria followed suit. It now has stakes in a coal mine in Indonesia, oil and gas fields in Argentina, oil storage in China and a biodiesel plant in Germany. In June, it invested $50 million in a Romanian gas producer.


The JPMorgan unit employs about 600 and represents a range of assets assembled over decades by firms including Bear Stearns Cos. and RBS Sempra, which the bank bought during an acquisition binge beginning in 2008.


They include gas and power trading on both sides of the Atlantic, physical assets spanning 40 locations in North America, an oil-trading book with a supply and offtake contract with the largest refinery on the U.S. East Coast, 6 million barrels of storage leases in the Canadian oil sands, and Henry Bath & Sons Ltd., a 220-year-old metal-warehouse operator based in Liverpool, England.

In other words, the old boys' club is about to get reassembled, only this time even further away from the supervision of the clueless, corrupt and incompetent US regulators. And with the physical commodity monopoly of the big banks finally being unwound, long overdue following its exposure here and elsewhere over two years ago, it only makes sense that former traders from JPM and Goldman reincarnate just the same monopoly in a jurisdiction as far away from the US and Fed "supervision" as possible. Which also means that anyone hoping that the great physical commodity warehousing scam is about to end, should not hold their breath.

As for the main question of what happens to everyone's favorite commodity manipulator, "It hasn’t been determined whether Blythe Masters, who has led the JPMorgan unit since 2006 and orchestrated the buying spree, would join Mercuria, a senior executive at Mercuria said." Which means the answer is a resounding no: after all who needs the excess baggage of having a manipulator on board who got caught (because in the commodity space everyone manipulates, the trick, however, is not to get caught).

Finally, with "trading" of physical commodities, which of course include gold and silver, set to be handed over from midtown Manhattan to sleep Geneva, what, if any, is the endgame?

The talks with JPMorgan forced Mercuria to put another deal on hold. Mercuria was nearing the sale of an equity stake of 10 percent to 20 percent to Chinese sovereign wealth fund State Development & Investment Co., according to two people familiar with the matter. The discussions with SDIC were halted once Mercuria neared the JPMorgan business, one of the people said.

But they will be promptly resumed once JPM's physical commodities unit has been sold, giving China a foothold into this most important of spaces. Because recall what other link there is between China and JPM?

One may almost see the connection here.

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NotApplicable's picture

<- This is my shocked face.

aVileRat's picture

Sempra’s European and Asian trading business in 1999 Didn't they get busted for fixing Ural spot around 1998 ?

Mercuria in 2004. So, 3 year time-out from markets, restart, play their old trade book ? Sounds bout right.

Without a commanding position in any region or commodity, the firm has sought out bottlenecks postioned itself to make money trading derivatives using insights gained from its physical trading

In its early days it profited by opening a trade route shipping Russian crude to China from Gdansk, Poland.

So, trade supply shortages based on insider information gained from offering collars & swaps to power companies and upstream E&P corps. Sounds legit, right Enron ?

Makes me wonder which firm, with 20 year long-tail exposure to Ural heavy oil would be hurt the most by Canadian/US Crude going into French/German markets.

Things that make you go hmm...

Methinks Tyler has a new project to track. Or not.


12ToothAssassin's picture

Tip for Mercuria founders: Avoid bathtubs, balconies, roof tops, cliffs and private airplanes.

kurt's picture

and those gol derned nail guns

National Blessing's picture

Blythe has a lot of fuck you money.  She'll do OK.  Bitches.

Rukeysers Ghost's picture

Blythe is genuine evil but I would still fuck the shit out of her. That accent overrides all indiscretions.

Jadr's picture

Tyler, here is another account that needs to be banned. You guys should just do something to block the linking to the website.  Auto-censor it to another word or something.  This tool is annoying and in every article.

adeptish's picture

Blythe gives me the horn...

Vint Slugs's picture


The term "insider information" is relevant to securities law.  There is no "insider" trading in commodities law for the simple reason that commercials are, in fact, "insiders".  Thus every hedge transaction that a commercial makes may have its roots in "inside" knowledge.

SAT 800's picture

Yes that's correct. it's a little difficult to get the citizens to understand this since they're so used to the prosecutions for insider trading in the stock market; always a popular PR stunt for the SEC. The problem with this Mercura trading empire is that it will be one of a big three who will simulatneously own the underlying commoditiy, the delivery system, and trade the market. It's kind of insider trading squared. Whatever JP Morgan couldn't do; they will do. Also, I don't see any particular reason they couldn't make some conference calls from time to time and agree with the other big two; and thereby temporarily, "own the world"; which is the basic goal of all large commodity players. I read the original of this article carefully and then checked around to see what else is in the public domain; not much; but that's to be expected. I liked the fact that they referred to the Marc Rich school of commodity trading as a "successful model"; he was prosecuted for some Federal crime involving fraudulently ripping off the public for whatever number of hundreds of millions of dollars; but he became a flight felon; convicted but out of jurisdiction; and President Clinton pardoned him with his presidential pardon power within a half hour of his closing out of his term as President. Something to remember when you're having trouble remembering that this is a government of crooks, by crooks, for the crooks. I would expect wilder and more irrational swings in commodity prices in coming years as the basic result. Don't forget President Obama has stated twice that "we need more expensive gasolene".

Vint Slugs's picture


Just as a point of info, Marc Rich and his partner Pincus Green were accused of US federal tax evasion - as I remember about $100 million that was a record at the time (suit brought by federal prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani who, at the time, railroaded financier Michael Milken) - not fraud on any level.  They fled the country and were never prosecuted (unless in absential that I'm ignorant of).  Furthermore, they established residence in Zug, Switzerland and formed Richco which was a hugely successful commodities trading firm.  Somewhere in there Richco was accused of trafficking with the enemy (I'm not sure under what sovereign's laws but probably the USA) during the "Gulf War" because they bought-and-sold oil; transactions that were termed to be supportive of the Iraqi enemy.

I don't have any trouble "remembering that this is a government of crooks, by crooks, for the crooks".

Commodity prices will become progressively more destabilized if and when there are actual signs of dollar debasement versus gold, not the popularly followed and wildly misrepresentative "dollar index".  Lacking that, the "real", inflation adjusted, 2012 commodity cyclical high at the upper 2 standard deviation zone relative to the 1793-2012 trend has set the stage for a general commodities price collapse - apparently in progress - into the black hole of deflation.

Danno Anderson's picture

<<<< Just as a point of info, Marc Rich  >>>>


You forgot to mention that Marc Rich, another diaspora, was given a full pardon by President Bill Clinton on Clinton's last day in office.   There was no mention of a black suit case being delivered to the White house. 

Wikipedia :

Marc Rich (born Marcell David Reich; December 18, 1934 – June 26, 2013) was an international commodities trader,hedge fund manager, financier and businessman.[1] Active in the spot market for crude oil,[2] he became a commodities trader.[3] He was best known for founding the commodities company Glencore and for being indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and illegally making oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis. He was in Switzerland at the time of the indictment and never returned to the United States.[4] He received a controversialpresidential pardon from U.S. President Bill Clinton on January 20, 2001, Clinton's last day in office.[5]

sgt_doom's picture

Again, this makes me wonder who actually owns JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs?

Yes, I realize the minority owner, at 40% of its stock, are the GS partners, but that 60% majority owner?

Yes, I realize people will respond they are private institutional investors through firms like T. Rowe Price and Vanguard, and that is private, privileged information.

So who actually owns Goldman Sachs, and JPMC?

Might be the starting point.

Mr Pink's picture

I've got a job for her.....this bitch owes me

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

+1.  "I've got a job for her".  Fuck, you beat me to it.  :-)

Freddie's picture

LOL!  Me too.

I got a little job for her.

johnQpublic's picture

maybe shes got a job for all of us

Flying Wombat's picture

Better still:  Put her in a cage at the ZeroHedge office with a live webcame broadcast and a web-hosted "button" we can all click on to fire a water ballon gun at the cage.   

Freddie's picture

Taken from the Jerky Boys Frank Rizzo

He is talking to an illiterate girl who cannot speak English and tells her he "has a little job for her."


IdeasRbulletproof's picture

I figured there was a joke in there somewhere. U just left yourself wide open on that one...

skwid vacuous's picture

She got stood up by two guys who wear sweaters over their open-necked collared shirts...? must be a fag hag (fruit fly, flame dame, etc.)

MeMongo's picture

Then again she could try tranny porn:'-( They can call her Long Dong Silver!

LooseLee's picture

The only job fit for this 'whore' is in XXX films...

SAT 800's picture

She's irrelevant. concentrate on electing a Republican President next time; it makes a difference.

GetZeeGold's picture



Instead of a Republican.....I think we should try a conservative President next time.

Hopefully one that's never heard of the Bohemian Grove.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

They all work for Goldman Sachs. Alessio Rastani truthfully told you as much years ago.

How can you still be so easily fooled?

Obama is President Fooled-me-twice doing what Bush did because Bush wasn't in charge either. Both are bankster puppets.

adr's picture

Hi, we found bottlenecks and used derivatives representing money we didn't have to buy out key players in the oil market so that instead of thousands of suppliers to buy from, you have your choice of three or four all trying to bid the contracts as high as possible.

Fuck competition, that might lower prices.

waterwitch's picture

Ms. Brythe?  Prease bend over....

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

She told Putin that she "could be more flexible after the erection".

Does she bend one way for Vlad, another way for Barak?  ;-)

walküre's picture

Selling to China. Cutting off their noses to spite their faces....

NOTaREALmerican's picture

I admire the higher evolved sociopaths.  Who else would pull-the-levers and create jobs?

cynicalskeptic's picture

Kissing ass to your new lords and masters..... wise move.

The question is:  Who owns the remaining 70% ?  You can bet these guys are in bed with some pretty powerful partners.

LooseLee's picture

Higher EVOLVED? Are you serious? Higher DEVOLVED is the right term. Worthless collection of flesh & bones IMO...Buffalo fodder at best.

The Gooch's picture

<---- Are they still sharing an apartment?

<---- Squid Jr.

NoTTD's picture

So, she's available to marry me at last?

Deacon Frost's picture

Surely you jest, don't wish that upon yourself or anyone for that matter, she is an arrogant shrew to be sure.

nathan1234's picture

She may take you up on it if you have enough gold to loot for JPM to give back to the Germans

Her pussy would be a dick guillotine and you would loose your balls as well as your gold.

Good Luck,

NoTTD's picture

Sounds great! I'm in!!

tony wilson's picture

Dunand and Jaeggi first met studying economics at the University of Geneva in the late70s.

they realised early on that they had a shared interests in gut punching  analism and kitten strangling..


after several child murdering eyes wide shut parties they soon got the reach around support of jacob rothschild, who they have been man milking ever since.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Fitting name for their company.

Mercurial: changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty; erratic: a mercurial nature.

Jadr's picture

If you read the source article apparently their name is based on the Roman god Mercury.

From Wikipedia:

Mercury (/?m?rkj?ri/; Latin: Mercurius  listen (help·info)) is a major Roman god, being one of the Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. He is the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages/communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he is also the guide of souls to the underworld.[1][2] He was considered the son of Maia and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is possibly related to the Latin word merx ("merchandise"; compare merchant, commerce, etc.), mercari (to trade), and merces (wages).[citation needed] In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity Turms, both of which share characteristics with the Greek god Hermes. In Virgil's Aeneid, Mercury reminds Aeneas of his mission to found the city of Rome. In Ovid's Fasti, Mercury is assigned to escort the nymph Larunda to the underworld. Mercury, however, fell in love with Larunda and made love to her on the way. Larunda thereby became mother to two children, referred to as the Lares, invisible household gods.

nathan1234's picture

Ah there's the connection !

Just an internal transfer of ownership.

It's Rottenschild behind all the financial crimes and wheeling dealings

dellievan's picture


Don't soft touch these things Tony!                                                                                                                                                             



Duc888's picture



They're all floaters, and gaseous semi-solid piles of shit always float to the top.

kurt's picture

As a former hand at J.B. Mackey Plumbing and Septic, I can absolutely confirm the above. When we cracked open a septic tank there was usually a two to ten inch wet cardboard like hard sludge on the top. In order for the septic pump to suck out the tank that crust had to be manually broken up. We used a steel bar with a rectangle of sheet metal welded to the tip. 

So if we're going to clean up the financial market, we'll have to bust up the crust at the top so we can suck the crap out.


PS Your plumber knows if you eat pickles in your household, the plumber always knows.