Mar 2024


Mar 2024

LBMA: All You Need to Know

By StoneX Bullion

If you've invested in precious metals, you might be familiar with the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The LBMA is an international trade association that governs strict standards and quality assurance for the global precious metals market. One of the first things you’ll learn as a precious metals trader is to buy LBMA-approved products - but what does that mean exactly?

If you’ve yet to dive deep into understanding the LBMA and what the organization does and stands for, this article is for you. Consider this a beginner’s guide to the LBMA, with everything you need to know about the international organization, including its history, what it does, why it’s important, and a look at its membership and infamous Good Delivery List.

What is the LBMA?

The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) is the international trade association that sets standards for the global wholesale market of precious metals. Its primary purpose is to promote good trading practices that help ensure a high level of integrity, trust, and transparency within the international precious metals industry.

Headquartered in London, the LBMA has a global client base of around 150 members from more than 30 countries, encompassing every aspect of precious metals production. Their members include trading houses, banks, refiners, miners, transportation companies, and fabricators as well as consultants, supervisors, and assayers.

To put it simply, the LBMA collaborates with these industry players to ensure precious metals being traded internationally meet objective global criteria and standards. Its stated mission is to “add value to the global precious metals industry, by setting standards and developing market services, thereby ensuring the highest levels of integrity, transparency and trust”.

History of the LBMA

The LBMA was officially established in 1987, however its roots can be traced back to the end of the 17th century when the East India Company first started shipping gold in partnership with Moses Mocatta. At the same time, gold rushes in Brazil, California, Australia, and South Africa saw massive amounts of gold entering the UK. To accommodate this influx, the Bank of England established its first bullion vault in London.

In 1750, the Bank of England began standardizing the quality of gold bars being stored and established the London Good Delivery List (originally called the List of Acceptable Melters and Assayers). This list named refineries who were known to produce gold bars of a particular standard and were therefore allowed to enter the London market.

By the late 19th century, five companies had been established to manage the gold market's operation in London. These were: N M Rothschild & Sons, Mocatta & Goldsmid, Pixley & Abell, Samuel Montagu & Co, and Sharps Wilkins. Collectively, the five companies were referred to as the London Gold Market. Part of the London Gold Market’s role was overseeing Good Delivery accreditations and maintaining the Good Delivery List.

In 1897, the London Silver Fixing was first introduced, and in 1919, the London Gold Fixing followed suit. These fixings benchmarked the trading of gold and silver bullion. Each day at noon, major players in the gold and silver bullion industry would meet and agree on the precious metal’s trading price for the day. The fixings formally marked the beginnings of the market’s structure that forms the basis of the London Bullion Market Association today.

See: What is the Gold Silver Ratio?

The 1980s saw a surge in the number and type of London Gold Market participants, and in 1986, the Financial Services Act was introduced to regulate investment businesses. As a result of these events, the Bank of England recognized a need for an independent body to oversee the maintenance and regulation of the Good Delivery List separate from the London Gold Market. Thus the LBMA was born on 14 December, 1987.

Since that time, the LBMA has maintained gold and silver Good Delivery Lists and expanded its focus beyond just gold and silver to the entire global wholesale precious metals markets.

What does it mean to be an LBMA member?

LBMA works with miners, investors, fabricators, refiners, manufacturers, and central banks from around the world. You’ll often see mints, refineries, and bullion exchanges referring to their LBMA membership. But what exactly does it mean to be an LBMA member?

There are four types of membership with the LBMA:

  • Full Member: Full Members are organizations operating in areas closely related to the London bullion market, such as trading, broking, shipping, mining, refining, assaying, research, and inspection. For example, companies who trade bullion or related derivatives in the “Loco London market” (see FAQs below).
  • Market-Making Member: Market Makers have the same rights as Full members but with the additional responsibility of quoting bid and offer prices to each other during the London business day, for agreed minimum quantities and tenors in both gold and silver. This service must be provided across one or more products, including Spot, Options, and Forwards. There are 11 LBMA Market Makers, including Goldman Sachs International, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Merrill Lynch International, and BNP Paribas.
  • Affiliate Member: Affiliate members of the LBMA include international market participants, exchanges, intermediaries, technology and service providers.
  • Associate Member: Associate members of the LBMA include different types of market participants, such as traders in other markets with bullion-based relationships with LBMA members.

Being a member of the LBMA signifies a trustworthy organization with a solid reputation in the precious metals industry. Membership is strictly regulated and applicants have to nominate three Attesters, with existing LBMA membership, to support their application. LBMA members benefit by accessing specialist knowledge, resources, and advice,and actively help raise standards and develop the market. At the same time, they are bound by strict rules and requirements.

Read more: Why Central Banks Buy Gold.

What is LBMA Good Delivery?

One of the LBMA's main functions is the maintenance and publication of gold and silver Good Delivery Lists outlining strict standards and specifications for gold and silver bars. Refineries listed on Good Delivery Lists are recognized for meeting quality, purity, and integrity criteria set by the LBMA and are eligible to produce and ship bullion into London.

Key characteristics of LBMA Good Delivery include:

  • Size and weight: Good Delivery bars must meet specific size and weight criteria set by the LBMA. For gold bars, the standard weight ranges from 350-430 troy ounces (11-13 kg), and for silver bars it’s between 750-1,100 troy ounces (around 23-34 kg).
  • Purity: LGD gold bars must have a minimum fineness of 995 per thousand parts fine gold, while silver bars must meet a minimum fineness of 999 parts per thousand. This ensures that the bullion meets strict quality standards and is suitable for investment purposes. (Read more: The Fineness & Purity of Silver Explained)
  • Markings and assay: Good Delivery bars are stamped with essential information, including the item's serial number, refiner's hallmark, fineness, and year of manufacture. These markings serve as a guarantee of the bar’s authenticity and allow them to be traced back to the original refinery.
  • Provenance: For a bar to be considered Good Delivery, it must be sourced from LBMA-approved refiners, which undergo rigorous assessment and accreditation processes to ensure they comply with the LBMA’s standards for responsible sourcing and ethical practices.

The Good Delivery List extends beyond standards of quality and purity to what is known as Responsible Gold Guidance. This is an LBMA policy that aims to address human rights violations, conflict funding, money laundering, and terrorism financing. This means that refineries on the Good Delivery List source their gold ethically and responsibly. Investors buying LBMA-approved bullion products can rest assured knowing that their investments are not contributing to unethical behavior.

The complete list of Good Delivery requirements and specifications is released in the LBMA's Good Delivery Rules for Gold and Silver Bars: Specifications for Good Delivery Bars and Application Procedures for Listing. This was last updated in 2023. Accredited LBMA members undergo independent third party audits each year to ensure they continue adhering to the strict Good Delivery standards and requirements. Companies that fail an audit will not only lose their accreditation but also suffer damaged reputation and financial losses.

Any bars that don't meet Good Delivery rules are termed Non-Good Delivery. Even if a bar comes close to meeting Good Delivery but does not fully meet the requirements, it must be stamped with "NGD".

Read more: What Are the Best Gold Bars to Buy?

Why is the LBMA important?

The LBMA has significant importance in the global precious metals industry for several reasons. These include:

  • Market standardization: The LBMA sets and maintains strict standards for the production, refining, and trading of precious metals, especially gold and silver. This ensures uniformity and transparency in bullion products, enhancing the efficiency of the global trade market and reducing counterparty risks.
  • Price discovery: By operating the world’s largest over-the-counter (OTC) market for gold and silver, the LBMA provides a platform for price discovery through transparent and competitive trading. LBMA's gold price and silver price are benchmarks used globally and referenced by investors dealing with physical precious metals, ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), and derivatives. Through its extensive network of market participants, such as bullion banks, refiners, and dealers, the LBMA allows investors worldwide to trade efficiently and with reduced risk.
  • Credibility and trust: Knowing that a bullion product is LBMA-approved allows investors immediate assurance and confidence in its quality and authenticity. Because of its global influence, LBMA standards make it easy for investors to buy and sell their precious metals holdings anywhere, increasing liquidity.
  • Regulatory oversight: The LBMA collaborates with regulatory authorities and industry stakeholders to establish and enforce best practices in the precious metals market. By promoting responsible sourcing guidelines and ethical standards, the LBMA helps safeguard market integrity and maintain investor confidence.


Below, we answer some common questions you may have about the London Bullion Market Association and related topics.

What does Loco London mean?

The Loco London bullion market refers to the location where gold and silver bullion are physically stored (i.e. in London).

What is LPMCL?

London Precious Metals Clearing Limited (LPMCL) clears and settles all bullion transactions between the LBMA's clearing members. It is owned and managed by four LBMA Market-Making members: HSBC, ICBC Standard Bank, JP Morgan, and UBS. The banks use unallocated precious metals in their accounts to settle trades in between themselves, on behalf of their customers, and their customers' sub-clients. More than 20 million ounces of gold, and more than 200 million ounces of silver, are cleared on a net basis each day in the Loco London Precious Metals Market.

What is Good Delivery in bullion?

Good Delivery is a set of quality assurance standards that govern the global market of gold and silver bars. These standards govern everything from a bar's weight, purity, and dimensions to its assay markings and responsible sourcing.

What is PMPL?

Precious Metals Prices Limited (PMPL) is a subsidiary of the LBMA that owns the Intellectual Property Rights for the daily spot prices of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. These prices are calculated by independent third parties and are the only globally recognized benchmarks for precious metals.

Buy LBMA-approved gold and silver bullion

StoneX Bullion is proud to be an affiliate member of the LBMA, demonstrating our commitment to sourcing high-quality, investment-grade precious metals from the world's best-known mints.

We stock bullion bars in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium as well as a range of investment-grade coins from prestigious mints and refineries like the Perth Mint and Rand Refinery. No matter whether you’re looking to invest in bullion for your future, or you’re after a special coin to crown your collection, you’ll find it here at StoneX Bullion.

Browse our range of bullion and grow your investment portfolio today.