Claudia Carpenter London

Randgold Resources, which has used the London gold fix for 18 years, is willing to consider an alternative to the benchmark used to set prices, according to chief executive Mark Bristow.

“There is always no harm in reviewing any business,” Bristow said on Sunday.

“The nice thing about the gold fixing is it takes into account the market. It is a logical process.”

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Friday that it had fined Barclays £26 million (about R450m) because one of its traders sought to influence the price-setting process two years ago.

The gold fix dates to 1919, when representatives from five dealers met on St Swithin’s Lane in London’s financial district.

It was possible the Comex gold close in New York could be used instead of the gold fix, Bristow said.

“I would have to consider it,” he said.

Using the London afternoon fix as a measure, the price of the metal climbed 5.4 percent this year to $1 291.50 an ounce by Friday afternoon. Gold futures on Comex advanced 7.5 percent to $1 291.90 in the period and metal for immediate delivery as measured by Bloomberg generic pricing rose 7.6 percent to $1 292.61.

Bristow said Randgold could elect to price its product according to the morning or afternoon fix of the day following shipment or arrival.

“Personally, I believe it’s never a bad thing to review something and see if it still applies in any market.”

Asked if consumers would be discouraged to invest in gold because of news such as that of the Barclays fine for manipulating the gold fix, Bristow said: “People are always going to find ways to own gold. In the US it is hard to own physical gold. In Asia, they can always own gold.”

– Bloomberg