(Adds Dutch finance ministry comment)
LONDON, March 16 ING said on Thursday it was no
longer a primary dealer for Slovenian government bonds, while
the Dutch finance ministry said Nordea had become a dealer in
its debt after several banks quit making markets in its treasury
bills last year.
The number of primary dealers in European bond markets has
been declining steadily as increased regulation since the 2008
financial crisis put pressure on banks' balance sheets.
Primary dealers buy government bonds directly from a
country's debt management office and sell them on to investors
in the market. They typically are also entrusted with
maintaining secondary trading activity, which entails holding
some of those bonds on their balance sheets for a period.
The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) said
in a report on Wednesday that the average number of primary
dealers in the European Union has fallen to around 18 from
around 23 in 2006.
In an emailed statement to Reuters, a spokesman for ING,
said: "As of 2017, ING is no longer a primary dealer for
Slovenian government bonds."
ING's move follows a recent decision by Credit Agricole to
exit bond dealer roles in Austria and Ireland, and in treasury
bills for the Netherlands.
The Netherlands lost UBS, BBVA and DZ Bank as dealers
exclusively in their bills in 2016 - so-called single markets
specialists - a spokeswoman for the finance ministry confirmed
in an emailed statement to Reuters.
She added that Nordea became a primary dealer in bonds at
the start of 2017, replacing Santander, which has become the
only remaining exclusive dealer in bills. While the number of
primary dealers is unchanged at 15, the number of banks dealing
bills fell from 20 to 16 over the last year.
(Reporting by John Geddie; Writing by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing
by Larry King)