By James Moore

12:01AM BST 15 Apr 2004

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The investment bank that has chaired the London meetings setting the world gold price since 1919 is quitting the market.

rothchildfamilyNM Rothschild will withdraw from all its commodity trading activities, which also include an oil trading business set up less than two years ago, as part of a strategic review.

The move brings to an end nearly 200 years of tradition. NM Rothschild was founded in London in 1810 by Nathan Mayer Rothschild, who helped finance the Duke of Wellington’s army in the Napoleonic wars through gold trading.

The company hosts and chairs twice-daily meetings which effectively set the world’s gold price. The meetings are held in a plush chamber in the bank’s offices at St Swithin’s Lane in the City. The other four firms involved are Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Canada’s Scotia Bank and Societe Generale.

During the fixes, telephone lines are kept open to trading rooms where dealers are in touch with customers. Potential price movements are unlimited and the fix has been known to take up to two hours, although it is usually over in a matter of minutes.