09.19.2016
By Rob Daly

Precious Metals Join CUSIP Ranks

The fungible precious metals market is getting more in step with equities and fixed-income markets, as refiners now can assign CUSIP identifiers to their products.

“Although it is arguably one of the world’s oldest asset classes, gold is one of the last to receive CUSIP identifications,” said Matthew Bastian, director, business and product development at CUSIP Global Services.

Matthew Bastian, CUSIP Global Services

Matthew Bastian, CUSIP Global Services

As part of its offering, CGS has reserved a range of nine-digit identifiers for participating refiners. The first six digits provide capture the precious metal’s high-level attributes like metal type, refiner, weight, purity, and good delivery. The next two digits provide instrument details, such as serial number, assayed purity and certification, CUSIP assignment date, vault provider and location. The final digit acts as a mathematical check for the CUSIP identifier.

When refiners want to assign CUSIP identifiers to specific bars, they’ll upload a pre-formatted spreadsheet containing the reserved CUSIP identifiers and corresponding serial numbers

Precious-metal custody service provider Delaware Depository will be one of the first adopters on the new CUSIP identifiers and plans to use the new identifiers in conjunction with its existing internal codes for 93 of its products.

“The introduction of the CUSIP ID into the precious metals markets represents and enormous step forward in the pursuit of more modern, efficient, and transient marketplace,” said Jon Potts, managing director at Delaware Depository.

CGS plans for support non-fungible precious metals in the future, according to company officials.

CGS’ launch of electronic identifiers is the second major initiative this year to bring greater transparency to the precious metals market.

In mid-June international central securities depository Euroclear and blockchain startup ItBit announced plans to offer a blockchain based alternative to London Precious Metal Clearing Ltd.’s decades-old AURUM electronic clearing service, dubbed Bankchain.

The new platform will provide same-day trade settlements and make sure that the gold and dollars move at the same time, Charles Cascarilla, CEO of itBit told Market Media at the time. “This will improve the ability to trade gold and thereby improve the velocity of trading, which is good for market participants.”

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