By Michelle Graff
London--Following a forum held Monday in London, the World Gold Council says that there is strong industry support for its plan to reform and update the London gold fix, the current mechanism for setting what is essentially the international benchmark for the daily price of gold. 

The meeting was attended by 34 delegates representing all parts of the industry, including central banks, bullion banks, refiners, ETFs and other gold investment products sponsors, exchanges and industry bodies, according to WGC, and discussed what requirements and desired characteristics the reformed mechanism should have.

In a statement released after the forum, the World Gold Council said that discussions about the reform focused on the idea that the need for a single, trusted, benchmark reference price is in the best interest of the millions involved in the gold market around the world.

Additionally, the group discussed the necessity of continuity of price discovery to avoid market disruption, the importance of expanding involvement in the process to reflect the full range of market participants, and the importance of a local London price to reflect both the deep pool of liquidity available in London as well as London’s position as the primary trading center for gold.

The WGC and the forum participants also believe that any solution needs to be settled both locally and physically and needs to include a transparent benchmark that will mitigate any potential risks to the reputation of those administering the benchmark.

Both the gold and silver “fixes,” the metal price setting mechanisms that have been in place for a long time, are being overhauled. 

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.

The system has been in place since 1919.

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“We are at the start of a process that will lead to a reformed and modernized gold benchmark which attracts a broader range of market participants,” said Natalie Dempster, managing director, Central Banks and Public Policy.

“There was strong support for the World Gold Council’s key principles for reform. We believe it should be based on executed trades and a tradable price, it should have highly transparent input data, should be calculated from a deep and liquid market, and represent a physically deliverable price.” 

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