LME announces new transparency rules and appoints Alistair Baldwin as CTO

Rick Steves

The London Metal Exchange (LME) Group is set to enhance market transparency with new stock reporting rules and bolsters its leadership with the appointment of Alistair Baldwin as Chief Technology Officer.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) Group has recently announced significant developments that are poised to impact the metal trading industry.

Firstly, the LME is introducing new rules to enhance transparency in stock data reporting, slated to take effect from 29 February 2024.

Additionally, in a strategic move to strengthen its technology leadership, the LME Group has appointed Alistair Baldwin as its new Chief Technology Officer, effective 15 January 2024.

New era of transparency in Metal trading

The LME’s new rules, developed following a market-wide consultation, aim to provide greater visibility of unwarranted metal stocks in LME warehouses.

This initiative is part of the LME’s broader goal to bolster confidence in its market operations. As Robin Martin, LME Group Head of Market Development, explains, the simplified off-warrant stock reporting requirements are aligned with common market practices and are less complex than the previous ruleset.

“As set out in our Action Plan published in March, providing greater transparency and increased reporting of metal stocks stored in LME-registered warehouses is important in ensuring ongoing confidence in the operation of the LME’s markets. Given consultation feedback has highlighted the desire for greater simplicity in reporting requirements, we are replacing our current ruleset with the new requirements, which are less complex and more aligned with common market practice”, said Robin Martin.

These changes include the permanent adoption, from 11 December 2023, of temporary controls established in 2022 to mitigate the impacts of low stock environments. These controls include a backwardation limit on “tom-next” contracts and a delivery deferral mechanism, ensuring market stability even in times of stock scarcity.

Alistair Baldwin: Spearheading technological innovation

The appointment of Alistair Baldwin as CTO marks a significant milestone for the LME Group. Baldwin, bringing 30 years of experience in financial infrastructure and trading technology, is set to join the Group from NatWest Markets.

His expertise is particularly timely as the LME embarks on a journey to become a trading technology developer and provider, evidenced by the deployment of LMEselect v10, a platform designed to offer lower latency and enhanced order functionality.

LME CEO, Matthew Chamberlain, acknowledges the contributions of Mario Quonils, the outgoing CTO, and expresses enthusiasm for Baldwin’s upcoming tenure, highlighting his experience in running in-house technology platforms as vital for the LME’s aspirations for modernized market structure.

“I would like to thank Mario for his many contributions to the Group over the last five years. He has been instrumental in building-out and strengthening our IT function and spearheading our technology transformation programme. On behalf of the Board and Management Team I would like to wish Mario all the very best for the future as he returns to Germany”, said Chamberlain.

Richard Leung, HKEX Group CIO, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Alistair to the Group. He brings with him 30 years of experience in financial infrastructure and trading technology. Alistair joins the Group at an exciting time, as the deployment of LMEselect v10 marks the beginning of the LME’s journey as a trading technology developer and provider. The new platform, which will deliver lower latency and enhanced order functionality, kick-starts our aspirations for modernised market structure, and Alistair’s knowledge and expertise in running in-house technology platforms will prove invaluable in this regard.”

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