The London Metal Exchange (LME) announced on 17 January that General Counsel and Head of Enforcement Tom Hine will step down from his role at the end of the month. In a statement, the exchange said that the LME Group legal management team temporarily assumed Hine’s responsibilities starting September 2022. Hine has been with the LME for 17 years and cited his intention to set up his own business as the reason for his departure.
Why it matters:
Hine’s departure comes amid regulatory reviews into the events that took place on the nickel market in March. The Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation in April to determine how the LME suspended chaotic nickel trading on 8 March after prices doubled, reaching a record-setting price of over $100,000 per ton in just a few hours. The episode raised questions about the transparency of the 145-year-old LME, and regulators will determine whether further action should be taken. This news, along with the recent announcement of Gay Huey Evans stepping down as LME chair, may indicate a shakeup in leadership at the exchange as it faces regulatory scrutiny.
Our Metals and Technologies consultant, Leonid Khazanov, offered the following comment:
“It seems logical to conclude that the investigation by the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority is moving forward, if the LME’s top lawyer is on the way out. I personally doubt that the business he wants to set up will end up being a quick success.
Be that as it may, Tom Hine’s resignation, following that of Gay Huey Evans, is an indication that something is going on behind the scenes at the LME, and perhaps it has to do with the failures in nickel trading in 2022, which has led to interest from UK government agencies and complaints from global base metal market participants. It would not be surprising to hear of more resignations among LME top managers soon.”