Argus completes fifth annual benchmark assurance review

LONDON, October 10, 2016

Leading global energy and commodity news and price reporting agency Argus has completed the fifth external assurance review of its commodity price benchmarks.

Independent professional services company PwC conducted an external assurance review which examined the policies and processes through which Argus establishes price benchmarks for oil, thermal coal, coking coal, natural gas, biomass, fertilizers and petrochemicals. A “reasonable assurance” review, as recommended by Iosco, was carried out for all benchmarks with the exception of two new West Texas Intermediate US crude benchmarks which were launched and included in the review for the first time this year.

The policies and processes reviewed are designed to comply with the principles for price reporting agencies (PRAs) set out by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (the Iosco PRA Principles) in October 2012.

Argus Media executive chairman and publisher Adrian Binks said: “We are pleased that we have successfully completed the independent assurance of our commodity price benchmarks for the fifth time. Companies around the world rely on our prices for use in physical supply and derivative contracts. As we expand into new and emerging markets and develop more benchmarks, it is important to maintain our high standards and range of services. It is also positive to see that EU legislators and policy makers have closely aligned requirements under the EU benchmarks regulation for PRA commodity benchmarks to Iosco’s PRA Principles.”

Argus was the first PRA to complete an independent review of oil benchmarks in October 2013 and also led its peers in extending the Iosco PRA Principles to non-oil energy benchmarks, in January 2014.

The Iosco PRA Principles were endorsed by the G20 in November 2012. They cover governance, control, quality, integrity and conflict management in relation to commodity benchmark price assessments published by PRAs and require an annual external audit.

Iosco, in collaboration with the IEA, IEF and Opec, completed annual reports in 2014 and 2015 assessing implementation of the PRA Principles. The organisations found the industry had successfully adopted this framework and that no further reviews were necessary. The new EU benchmarks regulation, published in June and set to apply from 1 January 2018, takes account of the Iosco Principles for PRA commodity benchmarks.