London Metal Exchange appeals against OFT e-trading ban

Source: London Metal Exchange

The London Metal Exchange (LME) has lodged an appeal against the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) challenging the Interim Measures Direction imposed on the LME on 27 February 2006.

The LME had intended to extend the opening hours of its Electronic Trading Platform (ETP), LME Select, with effect from 1 March 2006 for Asian trading hours.

The majority of LME members eligible to trade on LME Select had asked for its trading hours to be extended so that it would be available to them during the Asian working day.

The LME's appeal contests the Direction on the grounds that the OFT has erred in fact and in law in imposing it. The LME believes that the OFT failed properly to investigate the public interest and that it also failed to recognise the stated needs of LME member firms, as it is only LME members who are able to use Select.

Despite considerable and ongoing efforts to find a resolution to this matter, an appeal against the Direction is the only course of action the LME can now take. The objective of the LME is to resolve the matter fully so that the LME can continue to serve the market properly.

Commenting on the development, Simon Heale, LME Chief Executive said:

"The current prohibition is baffling and very disappointing. It is detrimental to the interests of the market and has created material trading uncertainty.

The OFT's action has created a monopoly during Asian trading hours, where Spectron Group plc is the sole provider of an ETP to LME members.

The LME is an organisation that exists to serve the interests of the international metals community and we will vigorously defend our ability to continue to do so. I remain, however, committed to working with the OFT to find a solution."

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