REFILE-UPDATE 2-World Gold Council calls meeting to explore gold fix reform

Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:53am EDT

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* First meeting will be July 7 in London

* Says reformed fix should be based on trades, not quotes

* Should also be a tradeable price, not reference one

By Eric Onstad and Clara Denina

LONDON, June 18 (Reuters) - A discussion by gold buyers and sellers across the market on ways to reform or replace London's global price benchmark, known as the "fix", will be held next month by the World Gold Council.

The discussion comes as gold and silver fixes, along with other commodity benchmarks, face increased scrutiny by regulators in Europe and the United States following the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) manipulation case in 2012.

WGC, a gold mining industry group, said on Wednesday bullion banks, refiners, fund firms, central banks and mining companies had been invited to the forum, with a first meeting scheduled for July 7 in London. Britain's Financial Conduct Authority will attend the discussion forum as an observer.

The discussions are separate to the London Bullion Market Association's (LBMA) process aimed at finding a replacement for daily silver pricing, which will be disbanded in August.

Members of the association, including gold and silver fixing banks Deutsche Bank, Scotiabank, HSBC and other large bullion-trading banks will discuss proposals at a seminar on June 20.

Sources say that an electronic solution to the silver fix could be applied to price-setting for gold and platinum group metals.

But WGC said that would not necessarily be the case.

"We simply seek to convene a debate on the issue ... the gold and silver market are very different, and it is not necessarily the case that the solution found to replace the silver fix is then applied to gold at all," Natalie Dempster, WGC managing director, told Reuters.

LBMA CEO Ruth Crowell said, "The WGC's perspective from its gold mining members and the exchange-traded funds investment community ensures an important dimension to the ongoing benchmark discussion."

The gold fix - a benchmark used globally across the industry - is set twice a day via a conference call by four banks, which work out a standard price based on transactions between their clients.

Barclays Plc and HSBC declined to comment on whether they would participate in the meeting, while Bank of Nova Scotia and Societe Generale were not immediately available to comment.

WGC said the reformed fix should be based on executed trades rather than quotes and should be a tradeable price, not a reference one.

Input data for the new fix should also be transparent, published and subject to audit, while the benchmark should also be calculated from a deep and liquid market, the group added.

"It should represent a physically deliverable price, as many users want to take physical delivery of gold," the statement said.

Last month, Barclays Plc was fined 26 million pounds for failures in internal controls that allowed a trader to manipulate the setting of gold prices, just a day after the bank was fined for rigging Libor interest rates in 2012. (Reporting by Clara Denina and Eric Onstad; Editing by Veronica Brown and Jane Baird)

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