We’ve written quite a lot here recently about the LME Ring. But after all, what is it? A circle of red leather chairs with a bunch of banks of telephones behind it, silent, empty and lifeless. What brings it to life, though, are the people who sit in those seats, who create the noise and spectacle as they execute their trades. They’re not all equal, those who sit in the seats; some are order-fillers, mere number-crunchers, while others have the quickness of mind, or of wit, or of speech - whatever that intangible ingredient of success is - and come to dominate the forum.
The market, the business, has recently lost one of the most notable of those particular individuals with the death of Ken Jones. Originally at Vivian, Younger and Bond (ultimately part of the Amalgamated Metal Trading grouping), then at Asoma’s Leopold Lazarus, Ken will probably be best remembered as one of the major influences on Metallgesellschaft, when that Frankfurt-based metals behemoth decided in 1970 that it needed to be more of a price-maker than a price-taker in the markets where its physical presence was huge.
And it was a marriage made in heaven, between the quick mind and the powerful conglomerate. Under Ken Jones’ leadership, MG went from strength to strength. Then, in the mid-1980s, he decided he’d had enough and went off down to Dorset. A talented footballer in his youth, he was also a fine - and keen - golfer, a theme that followed from LME days through retirement.
Those who sat in the Ring with him will all have their own favourite anecdotes, and it’s not my place to tell them. But what all agree is that he was one of the finest exponents of the LME Ring system of his generation, and more than that he was universally popular, liked and respected by his peers. Those of us who came after him at MG Ltd particularly owe him a debt of gratitude for navigating the company from its early, formative years through to the organisation we later knew.
Some titles are genuinely deserved: Vale, Lord of the Ring.