Global Precious Metals Code V2
Ethics Leading Principle
Market Participants are expected to behave in an ethical and professional manner to uphold the fairness and integrity of the Precious Metals Market.
The ethical and professional behaviour of Market Participants underpins the fairness and integrity of the market. The exercise of judgement is central to acting ethically and professionally and Market Participants (meaning both firms and their personnel) should be guided in doing so by the high-level principles below when applying the specific guidance in the Code and at all times when participating in the market.
This Code additionally notes that the promotion of diversity and inclusion is now a commonly recognised best practice within many markets and firms. The benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce are widely acknowledged, and Market Participants are expected to promote the development of such a workforce within their firms and through their market activities, in order to access a wider range of skills and diversity of thought.
2.1 Ethics Principle 1 – Market Participants should strive for the highest ethical standards
Market Participants should:
- Act honestly in dealings with Clients and other Market Participants;
- Act fairly by dealing with Clients and other Market Participants in a consistent and appropriately transparent manner; and
- Act with integrity by adopting industry best practice and responsible business practices, explanations of which can be found in the relevant guidance notes issued by the bodies that oversee, advise and/or guide on matters pertaining to the wholesale Precious Metals industry, e.g. the LBMA Responsible Sourcing Guidance.
Maintaining high standards of behaviour is the responsibility of:
- Firms, which should promote ethical values and behaviour within their organisation and support efforts to promote high ethical standards in the Precious Metals Market more widely, encouraging the involvement by their personnel in such efforts. This should include supporting and promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce, in order to access a wide range of skills and diversity of thought.
- Management, who should be proactive in embedding and supporting the practice of ethical values within the firm’s culture and be prepared to give appropriate advice to personnel;
- Personnel, who should apply judgement when facing ethical questions, expect to be held responsible for unethical behaviour and seek advice where appropriate. Personnel should report and/or escalate issues of concern to the appropriate parties internally or externally, having regard to the circumstances.
2.2 Ethics Principle 2 – Market Participants should strive for the highest professional standards
All Market Participants share a common interest in maintaining the highest degree of professionalism and the highest standards of business conduct in the market. Firms should have personnel who are appropriately trained and who have the necessary experience to discharge their employment duties in a professional manner.
High standards of conduct are underpinned by Market Participants and their personnel:
- Having sufficient knowledge of, and complying with, Applicable Law and relevant industry standards;
- Having sufficient relevant experience, technical knowledge and qualifications;
- Acting with competence and skill;
- Applying professional judgement in following the firm’s guidelines and operating procedures, including but not limited to methods of execution, record-keeping and ethical behaviour.
2.3 Ethics Principle 3 – Market Participants should identify and address conflicts of interest
Market Participants should have controls in place designed to identify relevant actual and potential conflicts of interest that may compromise or be perceived to compromise the ethical or professional judgement of Market Participants.
Market Participants should endeavour to effectively manage conflicts of interest so as to promote fair treatment of their Clients and other Market Participants, including abstaining from undertaking the relevant activity or action where the conflict of interests cannot otherwise be safely managed.
Personnel should be aware of the potential for conflicts of interest to arise and should comply with their firm’s policies in these areas.
Contexts in which conflicts may arise include but are not limited to:
- Situations where personnel or firm interests may conflict with those of a Client or other Market Participant, or where such a conflict arises for the Market Participant because the interests of one Client may conflict with those of another;
- Personal and financial relationships;
- Giving and receiving gifts and entertainment; and
- Personal Dealing.
Market Participants should put in place appropriate and effective arrangements to eliminate or manage conflicts of interest. These could include:
- Segregation of duties and/or reporting lines;
- Establishing information barriers (for example, physical segregation of certain departments and/or electronic segregation);
- Altering the duties of personnel when such duties are likely to give rise to conflicts of interest;
- Providing training to relevant personnel to enable them to identify and handle conflicts of interest;
- Establishing declaration policies and/or records for identified conflicts of interest and personal relationships, as well as for gifts and entertainment given and received; and
- Having policies and controls on Personal Dealing.
Where it is concluded that a specific conflict of interest cannot reasonably be prevented or effectively managed (including by ceasing to undertake the relevant service or activity), Market Participants should disclose sufficient details of the conflicts to enable the affected parties to decide beforehand whether or not they wish to proceed with the transaction or service.