October 1, 2014 / 2:33 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Broker ICAP enters race to replace century-old gold fix

* LBMA and gold fix administrators requested proposals last month

* At least 15 companies interested in replacing fix -sources (Adds detail, background)

By Clara Denina

LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - ICAP, the world’s biggest interdealer broker, will submit a proposal to the bullion market to replace the century-old global price benchmark for gold known as the “fix”, the company told Reuters on Wednesday.

Representatives from a handful of banks have been running the current version of the gold fix, set twice a day by telephone, since 1919. Producers, consumers and investors use the benchmark to trade the metal and value their holdings.

Regulators have focused on precious metal benchmarks since the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal broke in 2012, leading the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and the four banks currently administering the gold fix to launch a request-for-proposals (RFP) process last month.

Sources told Reuters that at least 15 companies had expressed interest in replacing the London gold benchmark.

The new benchmark will need to comply with the 19 principles on financial benchmarks outlined in July 2013 by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), an umbrella group of market regulators.

ICAP voluntarily adopted the IOSCO Principles for Financial Benchmarks in July, said Kevin Taylor, managing director of ICAP Information Services, adding that it would continue building its business on those principles.

“Our joint solution for the administration of the London Gold Fixing will be rooted in transparent methodology and data processes, while making use of our market-leading industry expertise,” Taylor said on Wednesday.

The LBMA will hold a seminar this month for short-listed proposals.

In a shift driven by the increased regulatory scrutiny after scandals over manipulation of benchmark prices in other financial markets, a similar process to find a new administrator took place in the silver market this year.

That search yielded an electronic auction mechanism run by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Thomson Reuters .

CME was the first to confirm its interest in bidding to operate the gold process in July.

The London Metal Exchange, data provider Platts, part of McGraw Hill Group, and bullion broker Autilla also said they were in talks with the bullion market but declined to comment on whether they had submitted a formal proposal.

A third source said that U.S. derivatives bourse Intercontinental Exchange is likely to have put in a proposal. The exchange declined to comment.

These companies had all bid to replace the 117-year-old silver benchmark, alongside U.S. news agency Bloomberg and British-based exchange-traded funds provider ETF Securities. (Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London; Editing by Veronica Brown and David Goodman)

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