GF Financial Markets has been approved as a category I member of the London Metal Exchange, becoming the first Chinese-owned company authorised to trade in the ring.

GF Financial Markets joined as a category II member of the LME last year after acquiring the shell of the Natixis Commodity Markets brokerage from the French bank for $36.1 million, which was the cash value of the business at the time.

GF Financial Markets, which is run by former NCM md Andy Gooch, applied to trade on the floor in late December, and is in the process of building up a trading team. 

The company has hired Martin Woodall and is in negotiations with others, Metal Bulletin understands. Woodall was previously head of the NCM ring-dealing team, which was taken on by Jefferies as the French Bank wound down NCM in mid-2012.

Jefferies Bache subsequently left the floor in the fourth quarter of 2013 and now trades as a category II member. Barclays made the same decision in late 2012. 

Via subsidiaries, London-based GF Financial Markets is wholly-owned by Shenzhen-listed GF Securities, one of the largest listed securities companies in China and one of its first approved futures-commission merchants.

“We welcome GF Financial Markets to the ring and look forward to expanding our client base further, particularly in the Asia region,” LME ceo Garry Jones said on Wednesday January 8.

GF Financial Markets was the second Chinese-owned member to register on the LME, after a unit of Bank of China International joined the LME as a category II member in 2012. 

At the time, BOCI Global Commodities ceo Arthur Fan told Metal Bulletin it had no immediate plans to build a floor-dealing team.

The LME will announce the date that GF Financial Markets will commence trading and clearing in due course, it said on Wednesday.

The LME also approved Lee Kee Group, the Hong Kong-based metals sourcing and distribution group, and Vitol SA, the Switzerland-based commodities trading house, as category V members on Wednesday.

Mark Burton

Twitter: @mburtonmb