17 SEPTEMBER 2019, LONDON

London Metal Exchange Will Move Trading Ring in 2016

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The lords of the ring are being re-housed.

The London Metal Exchange announced Monday its historic trading ring will move to new premises in the first quarter of 2016 after 11 years at its current location in Leadenhall Street.

The move, the fourth in its 138-year history, comes because the LME has outgrown its current site due, in part, to the development of new products with increased staffing requirements, such as LMEclear – its trade-clearing platform.

“The LME and LME Clear plan to move to … 10 Finsbury Square to accommodate the growth in staff numbers over the past two years. The LME trading floor, the Ring, will also be moved to the new offices,” said the LME in a statement.

Perhaps more significantly, the move indicates that the demise of the ring is now off the cards. The ring will remain “as long as the market wants it,” said a spokeswoman for the LME, which was bought by Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. in 2012.

The ring’s demise has been long predicted by those who see it as an anachronism that’s been overtaken by electronic trading. The allure of the ring, the last of its kind in Europe, has faded in recent years and the number of pit trading firms has fallen to 10 from more than 30 in the 1980s.

However, the ring’s iconic red sofa may not survive. The ring will be redesigned and no decisions have been made about the sofa, the spokeswoman said.

The ring is known for its quirks, such as fines for chewing whilst dealing by open-outcry trading and reading newspapers in the dealing area. Punishment for offences committed in the ring can range from up to £500 for a first offence for to up to £4,000 for a fourth offence.

The LME’s first home was established in 1877 over a hat shop in Lombard Court before moving into a purpose-built venue in Whittington Avenue, where it remained for 98 years. In 1980 it moved to Plantation House in Fenchurch Street and then in 1994 it moved to Leadenhall Street.