National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

WGC wants to help fix the ‘Gold Fix’

By Brecken Branstrator

June 23, 2014

London--The World Gold Council plans to hold a forum July 7 in London to discuss reforming and updating the London Gold Fix, the twice-a-day setting of the gold price that serves as an informal benchmark for the metal’s price worldwide.

The Financial Conduct Authority will be in attendance as an observer, and the WGC has indicated that it will invite representatives of the bullion banks, refiners, ETF and other gold investment sponsors, exchanges, industry bodies, central banks and mining companies.

The objective of the meeting, according to WGC, will be to make sure that a full range of analysis and market perspectives from across all parts of the gold supply chain are taken into account for any potential changes made to the fix, which has been in place since 1919.

“Any reform or replacement of the fix must serve the needs of all market participants and meet today’s requirements for transparency, liquidity and independent oversight,” said Natalie Dempster, managing director, Central Banks and Public Policy at the World Gold Council.

Currently, there are two fixes per day by the London Gold Fixing Company: one at 10:30 a.m. and another at 3 p.m. (both London time). These are essentially auction results, set by four bodies--Bank of Nova Scotia-ScotiaMocatta, Barclays Bank Plc, HSBC Bank USA NA and Société Générale.

Ahead of the meeting in July to discuss changes to the program, the WGC had discussions with a number of people in the industry to identify five principles it believes the new fix process or alternative system should adhere to:
--It should be based on executed trades instead of quote submissions.
--It should be a tradable price rather than simply a reference price.
--The input data should be highly transparent, published and subject to audit.
--It should be calculated from a deep and liquid market, through which a significant volume of gold flows are transacted.
--It should represent a physically deliverable price, since many users want to take physical delivery of gold.

“The fixing process was established almost a century ago, so it is not surprising that it needs to change to meet today’s market expectations for enhanced regulation, transparency and technology,” Dempster said. “Modernization is imperative in order to maintain trust across the industry. This could come in the form of reform to the fix to bring it in line with the IOSCO principles or it could see an alternative price benchmark emerge.”

RELATED CONTENT: Market favors auction system to replace silver ‘fix’

Last month, the London Silver Market Fixing Limited announced that it would cease to administer the silver fix--the method of setting silver’s per-ounce price via a conference call with three banks each day--at the close of the business day on Aug. 14.

Now, a number of major players in the silver market have said that they’re working with the London Bullion Market Association to find a new solution.

The LBMA also recently conducted a survey of more than 400 silver market participants. They said they want an electronic auction-based solution to replace the current system and that the new solution should also be tradable, with an increased number of direct participants.