This Guide to the precious metal markets was produced and is published jointly by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM) and London Precious Metals Clearing Limited (LPMCL). It replaces the previous guides issued in 2001 and 2008, and has been extensively updated and revised.

The objective of this Guide is to set out the way in which the global Over The Counter (OTC) precious metals markets operate. London is the most significant global centre for this important asset class and remains central to the world market whether the institutions trading OTC metal with each other are based in the UK or in Australia, India, China, Dubai, the USA and so on. London’s key role in this market is due to a number of factors. Firstly, its history as the centre of the global precious metals market and the consequent high level of expertise that has developed over hundreds of years. Secondly, the physical settlement of precious metals across accounts in London and, hence, the compliance to the rules determined by the LBMA and LPPM regarding Good Delivery (see sections 5 and 6). Thirdly, the fortunate nature of the City of London’s central time zone, which brings together miners, investors, fabricators and consumers from around the world.

In addition to analysing the workings of the worldwide OTC market in precious metals, this Guide also looks at the activities of the LBMA, LPPM and LPMCL and the role that they play in the successful trading of precious metals: a term that is used in this Guide to denote the four that are widely transacted – gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

The term PGM is also used. While an acronym for the Platinum Group Metals, it refers within the confines of this Guide, and following general market convention, to widely traded platinum and palladium solely, rather than the larger group from the periodic table, which also includes ruthenium, rhodium, osmium and iridium.

Naturally, considerable space is given to the importance of the Good Delivery List and the role that both the LBMA and the LPPM play in ensuring its relevance and the high standards that underpin it. This is in conjunction with LPMCL, which acts as a gate-keeper to the market, since a bar only becomes and remains London Good Delivery whilst it continues to be accepted by the vault manager at a London vault, thus allowing investors transacting in Loco London precious metals to have confidence in both the underlying asset as well as where it is stored.

Moreover, the quality assurance work undertaken by the LBMA and LPPM means that the maintenance and publication of the Good Delivery Lists for gold, silver, platinum and palladium are universally acknowledged as the de facto international standard for precious metals. In the refining industry, accreditation to these Good Delivery Lists is globally recognised as the benchmark standard for bars, due to the stringent criteria that an applicant must satisfy. The Lists are also used by many precious metals exchanges around the world to define in whole, or in part, the refiners whose bars are accepted in their own markets.

This Guide has been written to be read both from start to finish as well as to be dipped in and out of to clarify certain aspects as required. However, the latter necessitates a degree of repetition to ensure that the salient points are covered in each relevant section of the publication.

Of course, no work can ever be fully up to date and cover every aspect of the markets. Therefore, the most recent guidance should always be sourced from the LBMA’s website.

It should be noted that this document is a Guide to general market practices adopted in the precious metals industry. It is not a template for the responsibilities of the various market participants. The Precious Metal Code – published by the LBMA – is a set of rules that market participants must comply with when interacting with their clients and customers. Further details can be found on the LBMA’s website as well as in section 16 of this Guide.

Jonathan Spall
G Cubed Metals Ltd


Many people have freely given their time and expertise to help in the compiling of this latest version of the Guide to the Global OTC Precious Metals Markets for which I am extremely grateful.

In particular, I would like to thank the Board, Executive and staff of the LBMA, the Management Committee of the LPPM, LPMCL, the Bank of England, Joseph Stefans, Timothy Green, Aelred Connelly and Philip Clewes-Garner.

For use of their data and findings: The World Gold Council, The Silver Institute, Johnson Matthey, GFMS Thompson Reuters, Metals Focus.

For use of images from their extensive libraries: the Goldsmiths’ Company, AngloGold Ashanti, the Bank of England, the World Platinum Investment Council and Heraeus.