Are gold benchmarks being manipulated? The UK Financial Conduct Authority investigates

A British investigation is looking into whether gold benchmarks are being rigged, Bloomberg reports. 

An unidentified source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – a non-government regulatory body for financial institutions – has launched an informal probe into the matter as part of a wider investigation into how global rates are set.

The source did not say which specific benchmarks were being investigated.

Financial markets have come under serious scrutiny after the Libor probe last year revealed that the London interbank offered rate was being manipulated.

Last month the FCA confirmed that it was investing the potential rigging of foreign-exchange markets.

“We’ve seen a pattern of this sort of scrutiny across markets,” Bill O’Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors told Bloomberg. “I don’t think this will have a big price impact in gold, but it could change the way markets are traded.”

One of the most important benchmarks for gold is the London Gold Fix. A measure of the spot price for physical gold is set twice a day by representatives from five major bullion banks.

Last year a director at investment management firm Cheviot told CNBC that he believed gold has been manipulated for some time now.

"It would be interesting to see whether that comes under further scrutiny," the director said at the time.