Party Foul: The London Metals Exchange Has Banned Drinking During The Workday

You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

Daytime drinking, which we previously reported had become a point of contention at Lloyd's of London, has now been banned for metals traders at the London Metal Exchange. What used to be a staple of the open outcry pit at the LME is no longer, according to Bloomberg.

In a meeting on Thursday, the LME notified its open outcry dealers that it is now expecting a zero tolerance alcohol policy for floor traders, who are responsible for setting the global benchmark prices for metals like copper and aluminum. The exchange said that they could impose fines and trading bans on individuals for breaking the rules.

The LME already bans what Bloomberg called "engaging in drunken behavior" (like buying equities?) on the floor, but this policy would go further to break the long-held correlation with open outcry traders and heavy drinking that stretches back to Victorian times.

For instance, Nigel Farage, who started his career on the trading floor before politics, has often recounted details of "his booze fueled exploits" during his career in London. It is just one account that has helped perpetuate the image of drinking being associated with being a metals trader.

Many member firms of the LME have also sought to clean up the industry's reputation. The exchange added rules in April that would prohibit members from holding "sleazy parties" at venues such as strip clubs and casinos - because the LME isn't a casino in and of itself, right? The ban was part of a new code of conduct, which we're sure will likely be ridiculed as it's passed around the table over pints at lunch by long established metals traders.

The ban also follows the zero-tolerance policy announced by Lloyd's of London that we wrote about months ago, after Bloomberg Businessweek reported a "deep-steated culture of sexual misconduct" in the UK capital’s insurance market. The LME was previously located on the same road as Lloyd’s, and metals traders often frequented the same pubs as Lloyd’s dealers.