As silver fix decision nears, LME ties up with Autilla

LONDON, July 9 Wed Jul 9, 2014 12:04pm EDT

LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) - The London Metal Exchange and technology firm Autilla joined forces on Wednesday to propose an electronic system for setting the global silver price benchmark as the deadline neared for replacing London's century-old silver fix.

The 117-year-old price benchmark, or fix, will come to an end on Aug. 14, operator London Silver Market Fixing Limited said in May, as regulatory scrutiny of price-setting intensifies across markets.

The silver fix is set every day at noon by three banks via a conference call, working out a price at which their customers are willing to buy and sell the metal.

The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) has consulted with market participants since May with the aim of producing a transparent electronic alternative to the conference call that complies with toughened regulatory standards.

"Throughout the LBMA's process, the market has consistently indicated that Autilla's technology and the LME's compliance and price discovery systems are market-leading," LME Chief Executive Garry Jones said in a statement.

The LME and Autilla, run by former brokers and traders from some of the fixing banks, had originally presented separate proposals.

The exchange had said it would use its electronic platform LMESelect, which was already available to LBMA market-makers such as JPMorgan and Societe Generale.

The LBMA said an announcement was likely by the end of the week.

Members of the association, which count gold and silver fixing banks and other large bullion-trading banks, discussed the seven original proposals at a meeting on Friday, without reaching any decision.

Other bidders include

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) also has joined forces with Thomson Reuters Benchmark Services Ltd, part of Thomson Reuters Corp .

Other bidders include U.S. derivatives exchange Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), U.S. news agency Bloomberg, commodity price benchmark provider Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill Group, UK-based exchange-traded funds provider ETF Securities have also presented their proposals.

The banks involved in the current silver fixing process are Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia-ScotiaMocatta.

The LME currently provides clearing of over-the-counter silver forward rates in conjunction with London clearing house LCH.Clearnet, which are marked to market using the LBMA forward curve.

"The solution will be ready for testing from 14 July, with implementation and roll-out to begin in early August," the exchange said.

An electronic solution to the silver fix could be applied to price-setting for gold and platinum group metals as well, sources said. (Editing by Veronica Brown and Jane Baird)