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Rothschilds gave gold to wellington army end napoleonic wars { April 15 2004 }

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April 15, 2004

Rothschild withdraws from gold-fixing chair
By Jon Ashworth

NM ROTHSCHILD, the City merchant bank, is withdrawing from the twice-daily London gold fixing which it has chaired for the past 85 years.

The decision, which leaves 40 jobs under threat in London, is part of a wholesale withdrawal from commodities sales and trading in the UK. Rothschild’s links with gold date to 1809, when Nathan Mayer Rothschild began dealing in bullion. The five Rothschild brothers supplied gold to Wellington’s army in the closing stages of the Napoleonic Wars.

The firm was appointed bullion broker to the Bank of England in 1840 and went on to operate the Royal Mint Refinery. It was asked to chair the twice-daily gold fixing when it commenced in 1919.

Discussions are being held with other members of the fixing to ensure an orderly handover. The firm will continue to chair the fixing for as long as necessary.

The other members of the fixing are Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Société Générale and ScotiaMocatta, the bullion banking division of the Bank of Nova Scotia. An outsider is expected to replace Rothschild.

David de Rothschild, chairman of NM Rothschild, admitted that the withdrawal from gold was “a bit of a sadness”, but said the economics no longer made sense. Commodities trading accounted for 2.2 per cent of Rothschild’s operating income in the year to March 2003, compared with 8.6 per cent in the late 1990s.

The price of gold is fixed daily at 10.30am and 3pm, when representatives meet to trade gold for physical settlement.

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