Global Precious Metals Code
1. Background and Key Principles
1.1 What is the Global Precious Metals Code?
This set of global principles of good practice in the Precious Metals market, the “Global Precious Metals Code” or “Code” has been developed to provide a common set of guidelines to promote the integrity of the wholesale Precious Metals market.
This Code should serve as an essential reference for Market Participants when conducting business in the Precious Metals markets and when developing and renewing appropriately tailored internal procedures. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to doing business in the Precious Metals market. This Code is also not designed to be a manual outlining the operations of the global Precious Metals markets as these are described in the Guide to the OTC Precious Metals Market produced separately by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and London Platinum Palladium Market (LPPM).
All organisations actively involved in the global Over The Counter (OTC) wholesale trading market for Precious Metals are expected to act according to the broad principles of this Code and have procedures designed to uphold its general tenets. Market Participants, for the purpose of this Code, are not only drawn from financial institutions but comprise a myriad of participants (see section 1.2). All Market Participants are advised to promote the use of the Code in order to further enhance best practices within the marketplace.
However, given the diverse nature of participants and their varying degrees of sophistication, the Code will need to be applied proportionally. This does not mean that different standards apply, merely that the systems and control environment applicable to a large financial institution may not be appropriate for a smaller commercial enterprise.
The Code is organised around four leading principles
All the principles promote and support fair, effective, open, transparent and responsible engagement within the market:
- A. Ethics: Market Participants are expected to behave in an ethical and professional manner to promote the fairness and integrity of the Precious Metals market.
- B. Governance, Compliance and Risk Management: Market Participants are expected to have a sound and effective governance framework that provides clear accountability and comprehensive oversight of Precious Metals activity. Market Participants should also have a compliance and risk framework that provides for a robust control and compliance environment which effectively identifies and manages the risks associated with their engagement in the market.
- C. Information Sharing: Market Participants are expected to be clear and accurate in their communications. Market Participants are also expected to protect Confidential Information and to promote effective communication that supports a robust, fair, open, liquid and appropriately transparent Precious Metal market.
- D. Business Conduct: Market Participants are expected to effectively manage each stage of the transaction life cycle, i.e. pre-trade, execution and post-trade, in order to promote a robust, fair, open and appropriately transparent Precious Metals market.
This Code will be periodically reviewed and is expected to evolve over time.
FX Global Code and the UK Securities Lending, Repo and Money Market Code Context
These standards are not particular to the Precious Metals markets and the themes are common across all markets – the Bank for International Settlements has produced a FX Global Code, and the Bank of England has produced a code for the UK Securities Lending, Repo and Money Markets. However, this Code seeks to recognise features unique to the Precious Metals market.
It is the intention, as far as practically possible, for this Code to be aligned with the FX Global Code unless the specifics of the Precious Metals market prevent alignment. Other Precious Metals market associations and trade bodies may wish to align their own code with this Code.
Applicable Laws and Regulation
Market Participants must be aware of, and comply with, the laws, rules and regulations applicable to them and the Precious Metals market in each jurisdiction in which they do business (Applicable Law). This Code does not impose legal or regulatory obligations on Market Participants nor is it a substitute for regulation, but rather it is intended to serve as a supplement to any and all local laws, rules and regulation by adopting global good practices and processes. Similarly, this guidance does not represent the judgement nor is it intended to bind the discretion of any regulator, supervisor or other official sector entities with responsibility over the relevant markets or Market Participants, and it does not provide a legal defence to a violation of Applicable Laws. It is anticipated that all Market Participants will comply with all Applicable Laws.
Market Participants are responsible for adopting their own internal policies and procedures designed to comply with the relevant laws, regulations and industry standards applicable to them and to the Precious Metals market in each jurisdiction in which they do business. By way of example, Good Delivery List refiners have to comply with the LBMA’s Responsible Sourcing Programme, under which they must every year undergo an independent third-party audit to confirm compliance. In the event of a conflict between the Applicable Laws, Regulations and this Code, Applicable Laws and Regulation will prevail.
Certain terms used in this Code may have specific definitions or meanings under Applicable Laws, which may imply certain duties or obligations in a jurisdiction. Since this document is meant to serve as a Code of good practice for Market Participants operating in different jurisdictions, it is not intended that the local meaning of terms in any one jurisdiction apply to the interpretation of this global Code. For the avoidance of doubt, terms used in this Code should be read according to their commonly accepted meaning as terms of market practice in the Precious Metals market and no specific legal or regulatory meaning should be imputed or ascribed to them. Annex 2 contains a glossary of the capitalised terms featured throughout this Code.
1.2 To whom does the Precious Metals Code apply?
The Precious Metals market features a diverse set of participants that engage in the market in different ways and across various Precious Metals products, for example, the extraction, refining, transportation, storage, financing, transacting and marketing of Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium. The Code is written with this diversity in mind so that it can apply to all wholesale Precious Metals market, including sell-side and buy-side entities, operators of trading venues and other entities providing brokerage, execution and settlement services. While there can be no universal “one size fits all” approach given the diversity of the market, the Code is intended to establish a common set of practices for responsible participation in the market.
For the purposes of this document, a “Market Participant” is a person or organisation (irrespective of its legal form) that is involved in the global OTC wholesale trading market for Precious Metals. As a guide, it is expected that this Code would generally apply to the relevant Precious Metals activity of:
- LBMA Members;
- Physical market (including but not limited to):
- Mining companies;
- Financial institutions (including but not limited to):
- Asset/fund managers;
- Firms running high-frequency trading strategies;
- Brokers (including retail Precious Metals brokers), investment advisers, aggregators and analogous Intermediaries/Agents);
- Trading houses;
- Central banks;
- Sovereign wealth funds;
- Logistics firms;
- Jewellery companies;
- Benchmark execution service providers;
- Affirmation and settlement platforms;
- Benchmark process platform operators, i.e. LBMA Precious Metals prices.
As a guide, the following would not generally be expected to engage in Precious Metals activities as wholesale Market Participants:
- Non-tradeable and tradeable price streaming platform providers;
- If trading on a regulated trading venue then it is expected that participants will comply with the exchange rules and regulations. In the absence of specific exchange rules, this Code should apply;
- Private banking Clients trading as individuals or via personal investment vehicles; and
- The general retail public.
1.3 How will the Precious Metals Code be applied?
The details of how the Code will apply to Market Participants will depend on the underlying activities. For example, it is expected that all members of the LBMA will commit to implementing the requirements of the Code. Each member will need to apply the Code proportionally to its business activities.
Proportionate application does not mean different standards for different institutions – it is a recognition of the differing levels of size, complexity, nature of engagement and sophistication of Market Participants in the Precious Metals markets worldwide.
Annex 5 presents a “Statement of Commitment” form. Market Participants may make use of it in different ways to support the objectives of the Code, enhancing transparency, efficiency and functioning in the Precious Metals market.
Market Participants should also cross refer to the Explanatory Note, which provides further clarification on the implementation of the principles and guidance, and also on how to use the Statement of Commitment.
The Explanatory Note will be updated from time to time to reflect frequently asked questions and should be read in conjunction with this Code.