LBMA Conferences: Shaping an Event ‘For the Industry, By the Industry’

Jonathan Jodry

By Jonathan Jodry
Business Development Director, Metalor Technologies SA

For its 22nd edition, the LBMA/LPPM Precious Metals Conference will, for the first time, return to a city which has already hosted the event – Lisbon, Portugal. As Suki Cooper outlines in this issue’s Editorial, the 2003 Conference was due to be held in Shanghai but had to be moved to Lisbon due to another pandemic: SARS.

Conference Foundations

The younger generation might not know that prior to LBMA starting its Conference, there was already an annual conference organised by the Financial Times dedicated to gold: the FT World Gold Conference. The Financial Times organised many conferences in different fields, but this was the most prestigious and financially successful one. LBMA supported that conference by sponsoring social events.

The success encountered by the Financial Times prompted it to raise the cost of registration and sponsorship year after year, with fees eventually reaching such a level that many participants started to find the cost of participation unreasonable.


LBMA/LPPM Precious Metals Conference, 16-18 October 2016, Singapore. Delegates networking and enjoying the breathtaking view at the Welcome Reception.

Shortly after the 22nd FT Gold Conference held in London in 1999, Dr Stewart Murray joined LBMA as the new Chief Executive and was put in charge of organising the first LBMA Precious Metals Conference, a move decided by the Management Committee of the Association. The first LBMA Conference took place in February 2000 in Dubai at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Some delegates had the chance to stay at the Burj Al Arab Hotel, the most famous and iconic Dubai hotel, which had opened three months prior to the Conference, and were even brought to the conference centre in Rolls-Royces! An extensive programme of presentations was offered to the participants and up to three sessions were run in parallel. The Bedouin barbecue dinner in the desert was the highlight of the event and was unanimously applauded by the 252 delegates.

The precious metals community ended up with two major conferences that year, as the Financial Times event took place in June 2000 in Paris. It was well attended, especially by bullion and central bankers, with 15 central banks from four continents being represented. However, the predominance of the LBMA Conference became clear at its second event, held in Istanbul in 2001, leading to the disappearance of the Financial Times event after its 2001 edition in Rome.


LBMA Precious Metals Conference, 28-30 September 2008, Kyoto. Pictured left to right are Kevin Crisp, Jeremy Charles, Mr Masaaki Nangaku, Anne Dennison and Stewart Murray.

The LBMA Difference

When LBMA decided to organise its own annual Conference, it had several goals in mind:

  • The event had to be “for the industry, by the industry”, with the participation of more refiners and sessions on technical themes.
  • Rather than limiting the venues to those in Europe, as the Financial Times did, LBMA wanted its Conference to become truly international. As a result, more than half of the Conference locations to date have been outside Europe.
  • The event had to involve other precious metals communities, a goal which has led to most of the annual Conferences since 2008 being co-hosted with LPPM (London Platinum and Palladium Market).

LBMA/LPPM Precious Metals Conference, 13-15 October, 2019, Shenzhen. Welcome Reception.

The LBMA/LPPM Conference is indisputably the most important annual event in the precious metals community. Participation reached a record number of 810 delegates (including business partners) in Rome in 2013, which brought virtually all key market participants worldwide under the same roof for three days. Meeting with business partners and learning about the latest market developments are frequently cited as the two main reasons why delegates join the Conference, and this usually results in full agendas for delegates, from early breakfast meetings to late evening drinks.

For this reason, the venue has a strong impact on the success of the event. LBMA has a reputation for selecting remarkable hotels, such as the Adlon in Berlin, the Cavalieri in Rome or the Shangri-La in Singapore. There have still been less fortunate venues, such as the Park Plaza in Boston, where all participants had to evacuate their rooms in the middle of the first night, for what eventually turned out to be a false alarm.

The LBMA/LPPM Conference is indisputably the most important annual event in the precious metals community.

LBMA/LPPM Precious Metals Conference, 28-30 October 2018, Boston. Delegates enjoying the entertainment at the Conference Dinner.

Conference Recollections

To understand the importance of the LBMA/LPPM Conference for the precious metals industry, we asked three participants with the highest participation records since the first Conference in 2000 to share their biggest incentive to join the Conference as well as a personal special memory.

Philip Klapwijk, Managing Director, Precious Metals Insights Ltd

Conference attendance: Every Conference

Biggest incentive to join the Conference?
“It is the best single annual event to meet fellow professionals from across the world. It covers all the major precious metals and has a truly international focus that is unrivalled.”

Any special memories?
“Johannesburg in 2005: I was at the podium and about to sum up the central banks session that I’d chaired when Isabelle Strauss-Kahn whispered to me discreetly that there was still one more presentation to go, namely that of TT Mboweni from the SARB and our host country! This was a rather embarrassing moment to put it mildly.”

Hitoshi Kosai, Chief, International Planning Office & Head of President’s Strategy at Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K. & TANAKA HOLDINGS Co., Ltd

Conference attendance: All except Mumbai (2007)

Biggest incentive to join the conference?
“The Conference is not only a place to gather up-to-date information, but also to have efficient networking paired with local culture and food.”

Any special memories?
“Kyoto in 2008: I am grateful that I was able to help organise the Conference in my home country. The event was marked by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers just two weeks before the Conference, triggering the global financial crisis.”

Serge Gambs, Founder, Director of SG2 Consult Sarl and Official Facilitator for the LBMA

Conference attendance: All except Johannesburg (2005)

Biggest incentive to join the conference?
“It is the best place to learn of the latest developments in the market, as well as to meet with friends and customers.”

Any special memories?
“Not one specific memory, but rather the continuous pleasure of joining all those Conferences.”

This article was written with the help of Dr Stewart Murray and his incredible memory of LBMA’s historic events.

Jonathan Jodry

By Jonathan Jodry
Business Development Director, Metalor Technologies SA