ICE will not disclose names of chairs in new gold benchmark process

Mar 19, 2015 - 12:20 PM GMT

The names of those selected to oversee ICE’s new gold price benchmarking process will not be disclosed, Finbarr Hutcheson, president of ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA), said.

“We are keeping that anonymous – we don’t think that it’s meaningful to the marketplace to know who’s running that auction and, frankly, the more we kind of feed the story, there’s just going to be more speculation around that,” he said at a briefing at its offices here.

“There’s a legitimate desire to know but actually we don’t want this process to focus on any individual or names of people,” he added.

The panel of the independent chairs will be responsible for overseeing the process although ICE has indicated that it will be looking to make the process electronic in future.

The group will be responsible for inputting the starting price to the auction and any adjustments should participants not place orders on that initial figure.

“We have a panel of chairpeople that we are going to use and we have internal expertise as well on that, but we are not disclosing the names of those chairmen,” Hutcheson said. “It will rotate through the panel but we have a significant bench of available external expertise with back-up if you like.”

Hutcheson declined to name how many chairpeople are on the panel.

But if the oversight committee were to feel that it was appropriate for the names to be disclosed, this stance may change, he suggested.

The oversight committee comprises Tim Wood of Denver Gold, Robert Hayes of AngloGold Ashanti, Grant Angwin of Johnson Matthey, Simon Weeks of Scotiabank, Ruth Crowell of the LBMA and Emma Vick of IBA.

The LBMA Gold Price, which will initially involve six direct participants, will formally replace the near-century-old London Gold Fix on March 20.

The twice-daily gold fix, which has been in operation since September 12, 1919, has come under increased regulatory and media scrutiny. A third-party operator is seen as a critical step in modernising the image of the benchmark process, while also providing enhanced transparency and compliance with legislation.

London-based ICE subsidiary ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA), which was established in April 2013 to administer benchmarks, will provide the price platform, methodology and overall administration and governance for the LBMA gold price.

Via IBA, ICE administers Libor and ISDAFIX, which is already Iosco-compliant. Some market participants stressed the importance of this in the eyes of both the LBMA and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).


(Editing by Mark Shaw)