UPDATE 1-Goldman, UBS join ex-"fixing" banks for new LBMA gold price
* LBMA benchmark replaces the London gold fix
* ICE Benchmark Administration operating new process (Adds background, comment)
By Jan Harvey
LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - The new London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Gold Price went live for the first time on Friday, with Goldman Sachs and UBS joining the four members of the now defunct gold "fix" in setting its electronic replacement.
Goldman and UBS joined Barclays, HSBC, Bank of Nova Scotia and Societe Generale to set the new benchmark gold price, administered by ICE Benchmark Administration, at 1030 GMT on March 20.
The first LBMA Gold Price was set at $1,171.75 an ounce, after five rounds of an auction to strike a balance between bids and offers.
"The London gold fixing was eclipsed today," Ross Norman, chief executive of Sharps Pixley, said. "The key question is, will users have the necessary confidence in the number? My gut feeling is that, with six participants, yes is the answer."
ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA) was named by the LBMA in February as the new gold price benchmark operator. From Friday, it will provide the price platform and methodology as well as the overall administration and governance for the LBMA Gold Price.
"It's a natural progression to go down the route of an electronic, transparent mechanism," said Matthew Keen, formerly a director for gold fixings at Deutsche Bank, now at Jeffries Bache. Continued...