Last week, for the first time ever, in "From Rothschild To Koch Industries: Meet The People Who "Fix" The Price Of Gold" Zero Hedge shone a spotlight on the mysterious, and "without any permanent employees" company known as The London Gold Market Fixing Limited which for 117 years has served as the corporate face of the London bankers who "fix" the price of gold twice daily. Since then, more than one of the LinkedIn pages we profiled of the bankers among the 5 gold fixing banks has quietly been taken down. However, the biggest surprise took place moments ago when none other than the head of spot gold trading at Barclays, Marc Booker, did what so many heads of spot FX trading in the past few months have done over fears of being caught in the ongoing manipulation probe: he exited stage left from Barclays HQ at One Chruchill Place.
As Reuters further reports, Marc Booker's exit leaves Martyn Whitehead, Barclays' global head of metals and mining sales, as the bank's only representative listed with the London Gold Market Fixing company. Barclays is one of the four banks that contributes to the twice-a-day price setting process for the globally recognised benchmark.
But there has also been speculation about Whitehead's future at the bank.
"I have a job for the year. I have been working for Barclays for 13 years, and I will continue to do my job at Barclays," he told Reuters when asked about the speculation.
Which means the former Rotschild director of metal sales and trading is the only Barclays trader left in the gold fixing "company."
More from Reuters:
A spokeswoman for Barclays declined to comment on the matter. Booker could not immediately be reached.
His exit follows the departure earlier in the year of Jonathan Spall, product manager for metals at the bank, and that of other commodity staff.
And while we can understand why cockroaches feel liky scurrying when the light is shone on them, the bad news for precious metal manipulators everywhere is that no matter where you end up, you will still likely face public scrutiny now that at least the German regulator is taking this matter seriously.
With regulatory scrutiny showing no signs of abating and cost pressures still elevated, the commitment of banks to the precious metals benchmarks is being questioned by the industry.
What is worse for the gold fixers is that it is now quite clear that one after another the scramble to get the hell out of Dodge is all too real:
The other banks involved in the gold-setting process are HSBC, Societe Generale and Bank of Nova Scotia. A former fifth member of the fix, Deutsche Bank , resigned on May 12 without a replacement.
Bottom line: just like the Silver Fixing which last week announced its winddown, the days of the 117-year-old Gold fix are numbered. But to preserve continuity of riggedness and manipulation, perhaps they can just outsource their job duties to the biggest manipulators of all: Bank of England, the Fed and, of course, the BIS.