Deutsche Bank seeks to re-join key gold trading club in London

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Deutsche Bank AG has applied to re-join the London Bullion Market Association — the world’s foremost standard setter for gold trading — as the German lender seeks to expand its trading unit.

The LBMA application “brings us into line with other banks that offer precious metal services,” Deutsche Bank said in a statement Friday. “It reflects the careful growth of our precious metals business in recent years, and growing client demand for our services.”

The move, potentially cementing the bank’s status in precious metals, is part of trading head Ram Nayak’s effort to maintain momentum at Deutsche Bank’s fixed-income business. Nayak’s unit has been the lender’s biggest growth driver over the past three years and key to Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing’s turnaround strategy.

Nayak previously added high-yield credit default swaps and made a tentative foray into base metals trading. He’s also considering a return to trading agency residential mortgage-based securities, Bloomberg has reported.

Re-joining the LBMA doesn’t signal a change in strategy, but it may help Deutsche Bank expand its precious-metals business, a person familiar with the matter said.

The lender was previously one of the few clearers of London-based transactions, and also participated in daily price-setting auctions for gold and silver. In 2014, the bank decided to stop trading physical precious metals.

The LBMA is a club of banks, traders and refiners that sets rules on everything from the specifications of bullion bars to responsible sourcing. Membership would give Deutsche Bank a seat at the table where decisions are made on how the world’s top precious metals market is run and would eventually allow it to participate in daily price-setting auctions again.

(By Eddie Spence and Steven Arons)

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