The London Metal Exchange (LME) will review reaction to a controversial new trading fee at the end of this month, it said on Tuesday, after widespread shareholder complaints about not being better consulted ahead of the decision.
Backlash over the hike, that some say could hurt their way of doing business, prompted the LME to invite members for a briefing earlier on Tuesday to explain the move.
Shareholders Reuters spoke to said discussions had been lively.
There was no fingerpointing, but I think the majority of the people are still confused and concerned, one shareholder said. We're still working on the basis that we'll be able to head this thing off.
The LME said in an emailed statement that the exchange had been consulting widely with members on the issue of fees. The matters raised in these discussions and at today's meeting of members will be considered by the board on February 23.
The meeting will also consider potential bids to buy the exchange.
I'm hoping they will take seriously the feedback that they received and take action, the shareholder said. The feedback has been negative, and I hope they take that on board, but there is no guarantee that will be the case.
A second shareholder said the meeting was a step in the right direction. Certainly coming out of that at least you feel slightly better informed than you did previously, he said.
The LME, which has traditionally kept fees low for its member-owners, announced in December that it would introduce an exchange user fee on March 1.
The move sparked anger amongst some high-level members of the 130-year-old exchange, who said they were not consulted and who rallied their peers to express their opinions on the move.
In a letter, three of the LME's 12 directors urged the exchange to set aside the decision until such time as members have had an opportunity to vote on its future.
Abbott said last month the fee was aimed at boosting revenues needed to update technology, raise capital to meet expected regulatory requirements and to take on increasing competition.
He also said at the time that the decision was taken by the board and there was no provision to revise it.
There is no provision if you don't want to go back to the board with a decision, the first shareholder said. Clearly they've been forced to have today's meeting because they've realised they're on thin ice.
High-level members of the exchange have said that the trading fee hike is window dressing to enhance the LME's attractiveness for potential suitors by steeply raising revenues.
The LME announced in September that it had received takeover approaches. Industry sources have said at least 15 suitors had expressed interest in the world's biggest market place.
Bids are due to be in by around mid-February, and the LME plans to present a list of possible buyers to board members at the end of the month.
The LME's new exchange user fee of 50 pence per lot has different implications for various trades. For a segregated three-month trade, for example, the new levy would mean an increase to 85 pence per trade from 51 pence now.
(Additional reporting by Susan Thomas; Editing by Veronica Brown)