LBMA stands for London Bullion Market Association which is a trade association representing the global bullion market. It is a member-based association containing several banks and precious metal refining companies all around the world. They have established their headquarters in London and controlled the gold and silver trade market of London. LBMA acts as a wholesale market of precious metals and various entities like banks, dealers, brokers, mining companies, refiners and the central banks of many countries are linked to it. It is regarded as the largest gold and silver market in the world in terms of the registered members. Let’s take a brief look at the history of LBMA.
In 1987 the Bank of England registered the LBMA as a trade association. However, it should be noted that the Bank of England has never been a member. LBMA was created by six big banks of the London Bullion Market at that time. These include the following:
Mocatta & Goldsmid Limited
Sharps Pixley Limited
N.M Rothschild & Sons Limited
J.Aron & Company(UK) Limited
Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York
Rudolf Wolff & Company Limited
LBMA held its first annual conference in Dubai in 2000 and has been an annual event ever since.
Is LBMA an exchange?
Although the LBMA is generally thought of as an exchange market, however it isn't. It does its job as a central entity for the trade of gold between refiners and investors and works for the evolution and development of various bullion markets around the globe. LBMA also works closely with the Bank of England and helps it in collecting useful data about gold trading in London and many other central banks. That’s because the Bank of England serves as a custodian for trading for central banks of some countries and facilitates the gold lending process.
The far-reaching membership base of LBMA contains 70 associates and 80 registered full members. LBMA associates include some major gold and silver refiners around the world and full members include major international banks and precious metal investors.
Governance of LBMA:
The LBMA is controlled by a CEO and a 12 member staff under the CEO known as the LBMA Executive. The members of staff are basically a PR officer, a marketing officer, a legal counsel, a compliance officer, and a good delivery officer.
The association is governed by a board who in turn appoint an independent chairman (non-executive). The structure of the governing board of LBMA is as follows:
Full members (3)
Market making members (3)
Non-executive directors (up to 3)
Representatives from the Executive staff of LBMA (up to 3)
The good delivery lists:
In addition to regulating the gold and silver trade, the LBMA also monitors and assesses the output quality and processing quality of the connected refiners and arranges the data on a list. This list is referred to as “The Good Delivery List.” There are two good delivery lists, one for gold and one for silver. The LBMA took over the Good Delivery List of London in 1987 and started the monitoring process in 2004. These Good Delivery Lists used to be managed by London gold trading entities before that.
Gold and Silver:
In 2004, the LBMA arranged a panel to monitor and further develop the London Good Delivery List. This panel is called the Good Delivery Reference Panel and contains one representative from each of the top five gold refineries in the world. Here are the names of these refineries.
Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo
Rand Refinery is from South Africa, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo represents Japan, while three of these refineries, i.e. Argor-Heraeus, PAMP and Metalor Technologies are from Switzerland. Therefore, Switzerland’s importance in precious metals refining and the industry becomes obvious.
The panel serves to monitor the quality of the refining process and suggests new techniques. It also analyzes the application of refineries wishing to join both or one of these lists and addresses the issues regarding the precious metal refining process.
Platinum and Palladium:
The LBMA also monitors the platinum and palladium refining processes with the help of a five-member panel from the top refiners of platinum metal. Here are the names of the refineries listed in the panel.
Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo
Johnson Matthey Plc
Three refineries are common in each panel, i.e. PAMP, Metalor, and Tanaka. Also, Switzerland has three members in both panels, which shows the dominance of the country in gold, silver, platinum and palladium trade.