Anyone may deal in gold but, in practice, dealings are largely concentrated in the hands of five members of the London gold market. Around 60 banks and often financial companies participate in the London gold and silver markets. Trading is done by telephone and electronic communications links. The five members of the London Bullion Market Association meet twice daily to establish a London fixing price for Gold and this price is a reference for world-wide gold dealings.
Recent Financial Institutions (the London Club, Britain in the IMF, British Banks in Russia).
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the London Club can not be properly described as recent institutions but it is important to note their recent activities in the light of the financial problems in Russia.
The IMF was founded in 1944 to secure international monetary cooperation and stabilize exchange rates. Operating funds are subscribed by member Governments according to the volume of their international trade, their national income and their international reserve holdings. Members with temporary difficulties in their international balances of payments may purchase or get credits form the IMF of the foreign exchange they need at fixed rates if they meet the required conditions. Russia applied to the IMF for credits.
Great Britain plays an important role in the IMF. On the 10th of September 1999 the Сhancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown was appointed to the Interim Committee of the IMF. The Committee was established in 1974 to advise the IMF on the management of the international monetary system as well as on dealing with any sudden shock to the world money system. The Chancellor will lead discussions on the reform of the Interim Committee after the proposals of the G7 Finance Ministers.
There will be also discussions on reforms to involve the private sector in presenting the world financial prices. It is the aim of IMF to relieve third world debt to avoid large-scale financial crises.
Among the recent developments it is important to mention the choice of London as the location of NASDAQ-Europe. In his speech on the 5th of November 1999, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown it was excellent news for the City of London to launch a joint venture to create a pan-European security market.
Gordon Brown said: ”NASDAQ’s decision to locate its European exchange here represents a massive vote of confidence in the City. NASDAQ - Europe will strengthen the UK financial services industry and reinforce London’s position as one of the worlds’ top international financial centers”. Mr. Brown added, “NASDAQ’s presence here will be good for the wider economy too, not just in the UK but Europe as a whole. Job creation and economic growth depend on efficient capital markets sending funds to businesses to finance their expansion”.
An important move in the European monetary life was the introduction of a single European currency, the Euro, on the 1st of January 1999. A separate protocol recognizes that Britain is not obliged to join the currency without a separate decision by British Government and Parliament.
So far the Bank of England has not voted to adopt the single currency. On the 6th of September 1999 Mr. Cook , the Foreign Secretary, stated that if the Euro proves to be a success, it would be in Britain’s interest to join it. Britain will first have to test whether there is enough flexibility in British economy and if the Euro will promote strong international investment and boost British financial services industry.
According to the decision of European Union (EU) Heads of Government single currency notes and coins will be introduced at the beginning of 2002 at latest.
The London Club set up in the 1980s under an agreement in London, comprises over 600 big commercial banks whose credits are not covered by government guarantees or insurance. There is a steering committee of the Club which operates between the Club’s sessions.