Trading books for zinc and nickel sit on the trading floor of the open outcry pit at the London Metal Exchange Ltd. (LME), in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised price forecasts for copper, lead and zinc, while Citigroup Inc. said there’s
Trading books for zinc and nickel sit on the trading floor of the open outcry pit at the London Metal Exchange. © Bloomberg

The first code of conduct in the 142-year history of the London Metal Exchange will also apply to third party events that carry its branding.

The 10-page code, published on Monday, states that LME-branded receptions or parties should not take place at venues that make some “market participants” feel uncomfortable.

The commodity trading industry came under fire last year after Gerald Group, a metals trader, hosted an event at the Playboy Club in London’s upmarket Mayfair district. Politicians including John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, criticised the event, held during LME Week, one of the industry’s biggest annual jamborees, as inappropriate.

“By setting out our values and expected conduct, we are taking a positive step in the changing behaviour of the wider industry,” said LME chief executive Matthew Chamberlain. The code also applies to staff and members of the world’s biggest exchange for industry metals.

Under the new code, the LME expects all events carrying its brand take place at venues which promote an “inclusive environment.”

“In particular, LME-branded events should not take place at venues which, by the nature of the entertainment offered or other activities undertaken, could make some market participants uncomfortable in attending the event.”

The commodity trading industry is under pressure to improve gender diversity.

At last year’s LME Annual dinner, Blythe Masters, the former head of commodities at JPMorgan, slammed the lack of diversity in commodity trading, calling it “unacceptable”.

But it is struggling to change perceptions that only men can prosper in a boozy, testosterone-driven culture where late-night parties are viewed as key networking opportunities.

Speaking at an FT event last month, Pat Crepeault, the chief operating officer of Gerald Metals, said it would not be using the Playboy Club for its 2019 LME Week event.

Mrs Crepeault insisted the decision to hold at party at the Playboy Club was because of its proximity to other industry events being held the same day and the presence Playboy bunnies “never bothered her.”

“We are leaders in terms of the industry . . . in that we have two female board members,” she added.

Under the new plans, the LME will withdraw the right for an event to use its branding if there is a persistent or serious breach of conduct of the Code of Conduct.

“LME Group . . . may also choose to escalate any complaints to senior management of the organising entity, or to relevant regulators or law enforcement authorities,” the Code states.

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