Singapore: JPMorgan Chase & Co has appointed Ray Eyles to head its Asia-Pacific commodities business and accelerate the growth of its operations in the region, the bank said on Wednesday.

Eyles, formerly the head of Global Commodities Strategic Trading in London, will replace current chief executive Oral Dawe, who is retiring.

“Oral and Ray will work closely on a transition plan which will ensure the continued acceleration in our long-term growth in the region," Blythe Masters, the head of JPMorgan’s Global Commodities Group, told Reuters in an emailed response.

JPMorgan Chase has shut its proprietary trading desk in the United States and United Kingdom , as the investment bank looks to comply with new US banking laws, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters. The bank has redeployed affected staff from the unit.

Masters held a townhall meeting in Singapore on Wednesday to announce the changes, and industry sources said the bank was not planning any layoffs in Asia.

JPMorgan’s commodities revenue in Asia has more than tripled over the past two years, and Eyles is well-positioned to build on what has been achieved under Dawe, banking sources said.

Unlike Eyles, who is also a trading specialist, Dawe was more focused on sales and marketing, industry sources said.

Asia expansions

Eyles has a strong connection to the region, having worked in Singapore twice previously.

As head of Global Commodities Strategic Trading, he was in charge of the desk which has fewer than 20 traders, with one based in the United States and the rest in the UK.

Prior to that, he was the CEO of the bank’s commodities business in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and also headed the global metals operations.

One source said JPMorgan might add more headcount in Asia, as banks are expanding in the region’s commodity and energy sectors at a rapid clip, drawn by its faster growth rates and lightly regulated markets.

“The prop desks will go, but they will just be absorbed by the main bank," an independent commodities trader in Singapore said.

Banks which are expanding in Asia include Credit Suisse, Singapore’s DBS, Citigroup, Japan’s Nomura, Standard Chartered, Societe Generale, Australia’s Macquarie and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

Last month, JPMorgan reduced duplicated positions in its global commodity sales and trading team by up to 50 people after the takeover of RBS Sempra Commodities.

However, on Tuesday, the bank hired Colin Fenton to fill a newly created role of global head of commodities strategy.