The world of copper has laid to rest one of its most loved traders, Barry Feldman, following his death on Friday August 15. 

Brooklyn-born Feldman, who was global head of physical trading at Red Kite Capital Management from its inception in 2005, had been fighting pancreatic cancer over the past several months.

The 67-year-old Vietnam veteran’s career in copper spanned 46 years, including a 29-year stint at Cerro Sales Corp, starting in 1968.

Technically, he never actually left Cerro; the company was acquired in 1997 by Metalgesellschaft Corp, whose subsidiary, MG Metals, Feldman worked for until it was in turn acquired by Enron in 2000 and then sold to a unit of Sempra Energy in 2002.

It wasn’t until 2005 that Feldman left Sempra to join Red Kite, now a metals-focused hedge fund group with $2.3 billion in assets under management.

"Quite simply, he was one of the world's great copper traders," said Michael Farmer, co-founder of Red Kite, who first worked with Feldman at Cerro in the 1970s.

“He was a colleague who was always extremely loyal, supportive and encouraging with a wonderful sense of humour and a kindness that endeared him, not only to all of us but also to his great network of friends in the worldwide metals industry,” Farmer added.

Feldman, who lived in Colts Neck, New Jersey, found his early career interrupted by the Vietnam war. He had numerous close calls: Feldman was almost killed on his first day when a mortar shell landed nearby but, fortunately, failed to explode. He went onto be a forward artillery spotter, putting him in a very exposed position at the front of his own lines and sometimes behind enemy lines themselves.

He returned from Vietnam, and to the world of copper, at the age of just 19.

After his military service, Feldman swapped his equipment for golf clubs, a trade he never regretted.

Feldman lived and breathed the red metal, developing close relationships with producers and consumers worldwide, who considered him not only a trustworthy and reliable trading partner but also a good friend.

Anecdotes of Feldman always make reference to his great love for his wife, Darlene, as well as his sense of humour and ability to stay calm under pressure.

A board director of the American Copper Council, his appointment as its membership chairman led to a large increase in members. He was a mentor to many, and will be greatly missed. 

Andrea Hotter
Twitter: @andreahotter