Deutsche Bank resigns gold, silver fix seat with no buyer

A man walks past Deutsche Bank offices in London December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank has resigned its seat on the London precious metal fixes without finding a buyer, a spokesman for the lender said on Tuesday, leaving four banks to set the global gold price benchmark under increasing regulatory scrutiny.

Sources told Reuters last week that Deutsche’s attempt to exit the fix was likely to end without a buyer as U.S. lawsuits alleging price-rigging by the five banks that set the benchmark had turned potential suitors cold.

A source close to the matter said the bank gave two weeks’ notice and that it would cease to be part of the price-setting process as of May 13.

The gold fix - a benchmark widely used across the industry - is set twice a day by banks that get together over the telephone to work out a standard price for the metal based on transactions between their clients.

Deutsche said in January that it would sell its seat at the fixing table, after its decision to withdraw from the bulk of its commodities business. It had held the seat for two decades.

Industry sources said only a handful of candidates had emerged to buy Deutsche’s seat.

“It was a case of not being able to agree on terms,” the source close to the matter said on Tuesday. Deutsche’s resignation leaves Barclays, HSBC, Bank of Nova Scotia and Societe Generale to set the gold benchmark, and just HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia to set the silver benchmark.

The gold fix, along with other commodity benchmarks, has come under increasing scrutiny by regulators in Europe and the United States since the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) manipulation case last year.

Editing by Veronica Brown and Dale Hudson