The Stunner From Today's Round Table Debate To "Fix" The London Gold Fix

Tyler Durden's picture

As those following the saga of the rigged for decades and soon to be history (in its curent incarnation) London gold fix know, today was the date when the World Gold Council held its "Modernising the London Gold Fix: IOSCO and beyond" round table session.

Specifically, as the WGC explained, "The World Gold Council will be holding a round table debate on the reform of the London Gold Fix and the modernisation of the London gold market. Many aspects of the existing price benchmark process are viewed favourably by market participants, however, other elements are in need of reform if IOSCO compliance is to be achieved. The World Gold Council is seeking views from both users and service providers on the optimal characteristics of any reformed system. We will also debate whether IOSCO compliance is enough or should the industry be seeking to modernise more than just the price benchmark?"

Among the various panels that took place were the following:

What do users want to see in a reformed benchmark?

  • This session will ask the users of the London Gold Fix what they would like to see in terms of reform. What aspects of the Gold Fix are desirable and what aspects should be changed? What are the optimal characteristics of a reformed system?

Market-led options for achieving IOSCO compliance

  • This session will discuss options for a reformed or alternative price setting mechanism. It will discuss existing alternative price-setting mechanisms and the pros and cons of each. Service providers will be asked to share their views on any new benchmarks and supporting platforms under consideration that may have arisen due to developments in the silver industry.

Beyond IOSCO: Should the gold market be modernising more than just the price-benchmark process?

  • This session will ask whether gold market participants should be going further in their reform efforts. It will discuss, more generally, some of the perceived shortcomings in the gold market infrastructure. What other reforms are necessary to modernise the London gold market and what impact could this have on the industry?

And so on.  Bloomberg was kind enough to provide a post-mortem of all the events that took place.

Discussions today at a meeting included reforming or replacing the London gold fix, the World Gold Council said in an e-mailed statement today.

  • 34 “delegates” attended today’s meeting, representing central banks, bullion banks, exchanges, refiners
  • A single benchmark price is preferred
  • Other points: local London price important, “imperative” for price discovery continuity, locally and physically settled solution needed
  • “We are at the start of a process that will lead to a  reformed and modernized gold benchmark will attracts a broader range of market participants:” Natalie Dempster, managing director, central banks and public policy
  • “There was strong support for the World Gold Council’s key principles for reform”

What all of the above means is that all participants in the rigged gold market, especially the central bankers, are adamant that the rigging continues in some form, preferably once again determined by a handful of market participants (participants which unlike Barclays will hopefully not be caught red-handed with rigging the price of gold), or as the phrase went, "local London price important "imperative" for price discovery continuity." Considering there is zero price discovery in a rigged market by definition, what this double negative statement simply said is that there should be zero visibility into the supply and demand forces (coughBIScough) that really set the price of gold.

In fact, if anything, as we have said previously - somewhat cynically - the only thing that is sure as a result of the "gold fix" reform is an entrenched standard that is even more susceptible for rigging and manipulation.

None of the above should come as a surprise.

And the reason why none of this should be a surprise is precisely what the stunner in today's meeting was. It comes in the form of the person who chaired today's World Gold Council session on London gold-fixing transparency and reform.

Meet John Nugee, World Gold Council chairman, and the man who spent the bulk of his career at the Bank of England where his most recent post was Chief Manager of the bank's Reserves.

From his official bio:

John Nugée is an independent commentator on financial, economic and political issues, with an extensive background in the official sector. The majority of his career has been spent at the Bank of England, where his last post was as chief manager of the Reserves. He also worked at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, where he was executive director in charge of reserves management, and acted as a UK director at the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund. From 2000 to 2013 he worked at State Street Global Advisors (SSgA), the asset management division of State Street Corporation, latterly as senior managing director. He founded and ran SSgA’s Official Institutions Group, responsible for overseeing the interaction with the firm’s official sector clients. As well as his associate fellowship of Chatham House, Nugée is a senior adviser to the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum and to the World Gold Council.

Wait, when did he work as Chief Manager of the BOE's reserves? According to his public profile, he worked at the Bank of England for nearly a quarter century from 1977 to 2000, and was Reserve Manager for the last four.

So what happened during that four year time period? Why nothing short of the infamous sale of half, or 400 tons, of England's gold at ridiculously low prices. Why did he do that? Recall as the Telegraph reported previously:

It seemed almost as if the Treasury was trying to achieve the lowest price possible for the public’s gold. It was.  One of the most popular trading plays of the late 1990s was the carry trade, particularly the gold carry trade.

 

In this a bank would borrow gold from another financial institution for a set period, and pay a token sum relative to the overall value of that gold for the privilege. Once control of the gold had been passed over, the bank would then immediately sell it for its full market value. The proceeds would be invested in an alternative product which was predicted to generate a better return over the period than gold which was enduring a spell of relative price stability, even decline. At the end of the allotted period, the bank would sell its investment and use the proceeds to buy back the amount of gold it had originally borrowed. This gold would be returned to the lender. The borrowing bank would trouser the difference between the two prices.

 

This plan worked brilliantly when gold fell and the other asset – for the bank at the heart of this case, yen-backed securities – rose. When the prices moved the other way, the banks were in trouble.

 

This is what had happened on an enormous scale by early 1999. One globally significant US bank in particular is understood to have been heavily short on two tonnes of gold, enough to call into question its solvency if redemption occurred at the prevailing price.

 

Goldman Sachs, which is not understood to have been significantly short on gold itself, is rumoured to have approached the Treasury to explain the situation through its then head of commodities Gavyn Davies, later chairman of the BBC and married to Sue Nye who ran Brown’s private office. Faced with the prospect of a global collapse in the banking system, the Chancellor took the decision to bail out the banks by dumping Britain’s gold, forcing the price down and allowing the banks to buy back gold at a profit, thus meeting their borrowing obligations.

 

I spoke with Peter Hambro, chairman of Petroplavosk and a leading figure in the London gold market, late last year and asked him about the rumours above.

 

“I think that Mr Brown found himself in a terrible position,” he said.

 

“He was facing a problem that was a world scale problem where a number of financial institutions had become voluntarily short of gold to the extent that it was threatening the stability of the financial system and it was obvious that something had to be done.” 

 

While the market manipulation which occurred when the gold reserves were sold was not illegal as the abuse at Barclays may have been, the moral atmosphere in which it took place was identical.

In other words, the man who assisted and "consulted" Gordon Brown (a man so clueless about finance he didn't and still doesn't have any idea what a carry trade is, let alone one in gold) the man who was Chief Manager of the Bank of England's reserves (all reserves) when Britain commenced its gold dumping campaign intended to, as usual, bail the big banks whose gold shorting trades had gone horribly wrong, the man - John Nugee - is the same man tasked with making the London gold fix fair, efficient, transparent and unrigged.

One can't make this up.

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knukles's picture

Nugee, nugee, nugee

 

BTW, is it just me but, he does not look "right"

imaginalis's picture

Nugee, the quintessential sock puppet.

Pladizow's picture

“Where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control.” – Lord Acton

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a Moral code that glorifies it." - Frederic Bastiat.

BaBaBouy's picture

WANTED: Fiat Price Of GOLD Destroyer...

 

Check Out Futures Cots: Commi's No End To Shorting Paper GOLD Again...

 

http://www.cftc.gov/dea/futures/deacmxsf.htm

max2205's picture

Hope to see him on the free fall to the ground level soon

Pinto Currency's picture

 

 

"One globally significant US bank in particular is understood to have been heavily short on two tonnes of gold, enough to call into question its solvency if redemption occurred at the prevailing price."

Okay so one bank was short TWO TONNES of gold and the BofE then had to sell 400 tonnes of gold at record low prices.

Got it.

Save_America1st's picture

Gee, were Bill Murphy or anyone else from GATA invited to this to give their expert input?  Was Eric Sprott invited?  Jim Willie?  Rick Rule?  Jim Sinclair?  Andrew MaGuire?  Andy Hoffman?  Gerald Celente?  Turd fucking Ferguson even???

No????  None of those people and a plethora of other trustworthy commondities experts who very well know the manipulation schemes that have been going on for a century were invited, huh?

Then you damn well know it will be more of the same just under the guise of a differently named scheme to rip the world off for more and for as long as they can still possibly do it. 

Does anyone think they're just going to surrender and come out peacefully with their hands up and a full confession???

Exactly.

Keep fucking stackin' the phyzz...it's pretty our only hope after this whole world of cards implodes on itself. 

Stoploss's picture

BBB i prefer the disagged, it's easier to see the manipulation across the board. Not just the yella metal, more like all commods.

http://www.cftc.gov/dea/futures/other_sf.htm

Manthong's picture

F that clown and his system.

logicalman's picture

I think TPTB are now just taking the piss.

WTF??

Dugald's picture

Yes, yes we know he's just a useful idiot, but he plays a good hand of Bridge, is a damned good third bat, and the ladies like him, really;  what more can you ask in a chap...eh what, what, what?

Bay of Pigs's picture

Yes. He's clearly one of the underground reptilian cave dwellers.

Jumbotron's picture

Nugee, nugee, nugee

 

BTW, is it just me but, he does not look "right"

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdLFolSPuwA

nmewn's picture

The man definitely doesn't look right knukles, beady little eyes, brow cocked up. Just the type of look that says "Yeah, I'm a theif, whatcha gonna do about it?"

sleigher's picture

He kinda looks like my dad in a way.  He was a fucking lying thief too...

Pure Evil's picture

All the upper echelon in London are paedophiles. He's just eyeing the picture of your young children just over your left shoulder.

JLee2027's picture

BTW, is it just me but, he does not look "right"

It's not just you. There is a tree somewhere with his name on it.

 

Check the shifty eyes between 19 and 32 seconds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrEep4g8De0

Hulk's picture

He looks like  that kid we tied down on the anthill in the sixth grade...

tc06rtw's picture

— He's had his horns Photoshopped —

hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

The majority of his career has been spent at the Bank of England, where his last post was as chief manager of the Reserves.

Mr. Fox, we are putting you in charge of the hen house.

Bam_Man's picture

When blatant fraud becomes official Government policy.....

buzzsaw99's picture

well we can't let the fucking maggot bankers suffer, that's a given

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

When you're hot you're hot.

FuzzyDunlop21's picture

He is no Alan Greenspan but he is in the ballpark for sure

29.5 hours's picture

 

 

I would like to personally thank Mr. Nugée for the way he handled "Brown's Bottom."  My retirement is almost completely funded by the Bank of England's astute grasp of basic exchange values.

"34 “delegates” attended today’s meeting, representing central banks, bullion banks, exchanges, refiners"

I missed the delegate vote. Was there a primary?

 

 

 

Tall Tom's picture

If you did not BUY GOLD during Brown's bottom, then it is you who are not in the club.

 

I created and still own a 200 Gram Pure Gold Cross (set with Emeralds) which I was only able to afford directly due to the downward manipulation of the price of Gold at that time.

 

Yeah. I bought at the botttom.

 

Thank God for the downward manipulation of prices as it made Gold affordable to the hoi polloi..

 

Yeah it is a club. Are you in it?

Dr. Engali's picture

I have a radical idea.... let's have the free market determine gold's price.

Ghordius's picture

... in China? Seriously, London's gold market is getting that quintessential ingredient of free markets: competition

Al Huxley's picture

Later, after the western central banks finish selling and it's all in private hands, and/or with the Russian and Chinese CBs.  In the meantime 'Our prices are insane!  We're selling down to the bare vault floor!  We must be crazy to offer these prices, but everything must GO GO GO!'  (delivery not guaranteed, special dealer conditions apply, we reserve the right to settle in cash, promise to sell gold does not imply that we have any gold to sell, see dealer for details)

SAT 800's picture

Yeah, that's what I was going to say. Why not just let the price be, you know, whatever it is ?

medium giraffe's picture

If the reasons given for Gordon Brown's infamous gold sell off are true, why were other governments making large gold sales at the same time, hmmm?  It was co-ordinated and international in scope.  The 'rumours' are utter BS.

Pladizow's picture

You sell what's needed to cover your shorts!

NotApplicable's picture

None of what you say leads to your "BS" conclusion. In fact, it appears that this would only further support it, as it was obviously a coordinated affair.

 

medium giraffe's picture

Short two tons of gold at those prices?  Big deal, hardly a systemic threat.  Remember, this was during the Euro launch -  future Euro members would have been unable to meet debt targets without asset sales.  What did Gordy buy with the sale of all of this Gold?  Euros!  Probably prevented the Euro from being DOA.

NotApplicable's picture

Okay, that sounds reasonable. Still though, would the carry traders care so much about price when it was their prolonged selling that helped get it down that low?

 

medium giraffe's picture

As you hint at, I'm sure traders couldn't give a stuff as long as they could still do the trade. I'm pretty sure a depressed gold price made it look less attractive than the fiat they were trying to pimp though, much like today.

Tall Tom's picture

The Banks were leasing the Gold and then sold the borrowed Gold to buy Japanese Government Bonds. If the price of the Bonds fell or the price of Gold were to rise then the banks experience a loss on their books.

 

Some bets went bad and the price of Gold started to rise. The loss would have madeone large important bank INSOLVENT. That bank would fail bringing others down. (This was also concurrent with the time of the Russian DEFAULT and the subsequent LTCM failure, the Asian Market Meltdowns...etc...)

 

So in order to insure that the critical bank DID NOT FAIL...

 

The BOE sold Gold on the Open Market in a large quantity to ensure that the price of Gold declined. This made the carry trade of the bank that was at risk profitable. That bank bought some of that Gold which it had previously borrowed from the BOE...AT A LOWER PRICE...and experienced NO LOSS...thus it remained SOLVENT.

 

It was a bailout to an unnamed Large Financial Institution (a Too Big To Fail although they did not call it that then...) from the Bank of England.

 

It would have been less damaging to the Bank of England to give the institution at risk a direct bailout of Gold. But that would not be so politically astute.

Cacete de Ouro's picture

All the gold that Goldman Sachs bid on and was allocated at the Treasury / Bank of England auctions was promptly sold back into the market (or in actuality delivered to fulfill outstanding obligations)... Or in other other words, Goldman needed this BoE gold in large quantities ASAP or else it would have got screwed

Bazza McKenzie's picture

And why was it the UK's problem and not that of the US?

Fuh Querada's picture

To paraphrase William Kaye on KWN: the interesting phase commences when 100 owners of pieces of paper representing that they own gold actually demand it, and are informed that physical metal is only available to service one of those paper owners. Then Mr Nudegee will presumably find the price of physical for the other 99 claimants.

Kaiser Sousa's picture

how'd you guys enjoy that sideways trading all day long after they took Gold below the dreaded $1320 mark and Silver below $21 before the open in London and then at the Crimex open...
classic bullshit.

http://www.kitco.com/charts/livesilver.html

lakecity55's picture

A Termite and his gold shall not be parted.

Saucy-Jack's picture

Just another step toward Freeeeegold!

Quinvarius's picture

The problem with the gold fix, and why it will be reformed, is that they were dumping client gold at the fix in physical trades and then buying back paper contracts, or worse, replacing them with IOUs in vaults.  That is the the problem.  It was a one way ride out the door for physical and buried the system in gold debt.  Just look at the account of the Barclay's guy who got busted.  He dumped physical gold at the fix in bar form, and then told his paper trading desk to make him whole.  He didn't have any gold to sell from a client order.  He just picked a number and went to the vaults to get that amount of someone else's gold.  And nothing will ever convince me that anything else was going on.  So now they all stand around looking at empty vaults, like the dumfuks they are, trying to figure out where everything went when it is on their books as items they are hold for clients.

If the fix was just another way to buy and sell, I wouldn't care.  But I know it was a bunch of guys selling other people's gold.

Amish Hacker's picture

Just because the vault is empty doesn't mean the bastards won't keep charging their clients for storage.