LME CEO quits to join crypto custody firm Komainu

abdelaziz Fathi

The London Metal Exchange (LME), which is wholly owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing  (HKEx), today announced the departure of its current CEO Matt Chamberlain, who also retires from all his positions within the HKEX Group including his role at the management committee.

London Metal Exchange (LME)

While HKEX and the LME search for a permanent successor, Adrian Farnham, the head of LME Clear, will take over as interim chief executive of the 145-year old exchange.

Chamberlain has been with the London Metal Exchange for more than nine years. He was elevated to the CEO role after Garry Jones departed in 2017. Chamberlain was previously the COO and head of strategy of the LME and co-head of business development across the LME and LME Clear.

He joined the LME in November 2012 having advised HKEX on the acquisition of the metals bourse while heading European financial technology coverage at UBS. Previously, he was a founding member at Perella Weinberg and started his career at Citibank.

Chamberlain joins the list of finance veterans that have crossed over to the crypto camp. He parted ways with the LME to join Komainu, a digital custodian focused on the institutional market. The firm, which is registered in Jersey and in 2021 raised $25 million, is partly owned by Japanese investment bank Nomura, along with digital asset manager CoinShares and crypto security firm Ledger.

Komainu slashed fees to revive LME volumes

During his time at the LME, Komainu has led the LME’s warehousing reform process, the deployment of the new London platinum and palladium prices and the LMEprecious initiative.

Komainu’s retirement comes after a challenging period for the world’s leading metal exchange which saw its trading volumes dropping over the last few years. This was due to a revolt by its members after the London exchange hiked fees by 30 percent in 2015. The step prompted consumers and producers to favour OTC trading and even considered setting up a rival exchange, hitting LME volumes.

Matt Chamberlain decided in 2020 to cut fees and charges for certain trades in an attempt to reverse a decline in its market share since it hiked trading costs.

The proposal introduced a cut to fees on short- and medium-dated carry trades. In addition, LME’s outgoing CEO discussed plans to propose new charges of dealers issuing OTC contracts that settle against LME prices.

Announcing his departure, Nicolas Aguzin, HKEX CEO, said: “Over the last decade Matt has been instrumental in reinforcing the LME’s global leadership in the metals industry, overseeing the LME’s warehouse reforms. Throughout his tenure, Matt has been a much respected and trusted member of the HKEX senior management team, and on behalf of everyone at HKEX, I would like to thank him for his leadership, commitment and dedication to the Group and we wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.”

Matthew Chamberlain, LME CEO, also noted: “I have had the most rewarding and enjoyable decade with the LME, working with a team and a community that I love, and I am proud of the many things that we have achieved over that period. But it is now time for me to move on to new challenges. Adrian Farnham, who has worked alongside me at the LME for much of the last nine years, is an excellent choice as Interim LME CEO and HKEX Head of Commodities, and I know that the market and my colleagues across the Group will continue to do all they can to support him and the business in the future.”

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