Nine LME traders have been fined almost £14,000 for breaching last Friday one of the LME’s many rules of decorum. Their crime? Standing up when trading.
In a rare mass disciplinary notice, traders from nine of the eleven category one members of the LME permitted to trade inside the red leather-seated ring were fined by the exchange for violating the rule.
While shouting and bizarre hand signals are permitted, the ancient rule still goes that a trader in the ring must never leave his seat because it might obstruct another trader’s line of sight during the five minute ring-dealing session.
Traders are allowed to adopt a (slightly curious and apparently uncomfortable) standing squat (see picture) while trading but under one of the LME’s many antiquated rules they must always have one heel against the base of their seat.
But the rule against standing is just one of a number of strict rules in force at the LME, which cover everything from chewing gum to drunkenness. If you want to be a LME trader, take note…
Dress – male staff must wear a suit and shirt with the top button fastened, collar and tie, and dark shoes (no trainers). Hair must also be neat and presentable. For female staff, attire should not expose the body in an appropriate manner.
Food and beverage – chewing gum is prohibited at all times. All types of food, drink and sweets are also forbidden whilst dealing.
Technology – the use of mobile phones and other mobile devices is strictly prohibited in the ring dealing area.
Behaviour – foul and abusive language must not be used. Unacceptable, slovenly or overzealous behaviour is also prohibited. Drunkenness is a disciplinary offence. Reading magazines or books is also not allowed.
Noise – excessive noise from behind the ring while dealing is in progress or the official prices are being announced is prohibited.
Under LME rules, first time offenders are penalised £500, and the fines double with every subsequent breach.
More serious offences, such as standing up in the ring, attract a stronger punishment however and each indiscretion commands a £1000 fine, which then doubles after every offence.
Last month the LME decided it will keep its ring, the last open outcry pit in Europe, open beyond 2015, something which LME’s chief executive Garry Jones said was based on a ‘business decision’.