RBS Sempra Founders, Stone Point Plan CTA

Nov 22 2010 | 9:37am ET

The founders of RBS Sempra Commodities are setting up a new commodity trading adviser, Freepoint Commodities.

The new firm will debut in the first quarter with "several hundred million dollars," The Wall Street Journal reports. Most of that seed capital will be provided by private equity fund Stone Point Capital—the first time that Stone Point has backed a commodities venture—with the rest coming from the firm's founders, David Messer, Frank Gallipoli and Robert Feilbogen.

The Stamford, Conn.-based firm will "be focused on doing business with clients," Messer told the Journal. It will trade in oil, gas, metals and other commodities.

Messer, Gallipoli and Feilbogen were top executives at RBS Sempra, the commodity-trading business created when the Royal Bank of Scotland Group bought a majority stake in Sempra Energy in 2008. But RBS was ordered by European regulators to sell its 51% share of the firm after getting £45.5 billion in bailout money; Messer, who served as CEO, left the firm last year. Gallipoli, who was RBS Sempra's president, and Feilbogen, its former chief operating officer, left soon after.

Last month, JPMorgan Chase bought RBS Sempra's natural gas and power trading business in North America.

The new hedge fund comes as another Stone Point-backed hedge fund closes its doors. Castle Point Capital Management, the $400 million firm seeded by Stone Point five years ago, is in the process of liquidating; founder Todd Combs is set to join Berkshire Hathaway as a possible successor to Warren Buffett next year.

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