Nov 4 In the end it turned out all right on the night. There was no booing and no slow handclapping when Garry Jones, chief executive of the London Metal Exchange (LME), rose to address the exchange’s annual black-tie dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
There had been considerable speculation as to what sort of reception he would get after a year of falling exchange volumes and a protracted dispute with brokers over trading fees. But decorum was maintained and Jones was in conciliatory mood, accepting with “some humility” that things hadn’t gone “as well as we hoped”.
He and his boss, Charles Li of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx), then had to humbly listen as Michael Farmer, guest speaker and copper market legend, spelt out exactly why the exchange’s traditional users are so unhappy.
Well at least the two sides can talk about their differences, which as every counsellor will tell you, is the key to resolving marital problems. Four years on from the nuptials between HKEx and LME, however, it is clear that relations need something of a reset.
Because, as Farmer pointedly noted, “there are many exchange competitors and even some here in London who are waiting in the wings and would be very happy to take over the mantle of the LME” as global price setter for industrial metals.
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