Primary dealer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A primary dealer is a firm that buys government securities directly from a government, with the intention of reselling them to others, thus acting as a market maker of government securities. The government may regulate the behaviour and number of its primary dealers and impose conditions of entry. Some governments sell their securities only to primary dealers; some sell them to others as well. Governments that use primary dealers include Australia,[1] Belgium, Brazil,[2] Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Singapore, Spain, Sweden,[3] the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Primary dealers by country[edit]

European Union[edit]

As of 1 August 2023, the European Commission of the European Union identifies the following 37 primary dealers:[4]

Hong Kong[edit]

As of 1 October 2021, Hong Kong identifies the following 10 primary dealers, with two-year terms, ending 30 September 2023:[5]

  • Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited
  • Bank of Communications Company, Limited
  • BNP Paribas, Hong Kong
  • Citibank N.A.
  • Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
  • DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
  • Hang Seng Bank Limited
  • The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
  • Societe Generale
  • Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited


As of April 2021, the National Treasury Management Agency of Ireland identifies the following 14 primary dealers[6]

United States[edit]

In the United States, a primary dealer is a bank or securities broker-dealer that is permitted to trade directly with the Federal Reserve System ("the Fed").[7] Such firms are required to make bids or offers when the Fed conducts open market operations, provide information to the Fed's open market trading desk, and to participate actively in U.S. Treasury securities auctions.[8] They consult with both the U.S. Treasury and the Fed about funding the budget deficit and implementing monetary policy. Many former employees of primary dealers work at the Treasury because of their expertise in the government debt markets, though the Fed avoids a similar revolving door policy.[9][10]

The current system of primary dealers was set up in 1960 with 18 dealers. The number of primary dealers grew to 46 in 1988, declined to 21 by 2007, increased to 24 by July 2019, then to 25 in April 2022.[7] In December 2021, three of the 24 primary dealers[11] were employing a woman chief economist, which dwindled, in 2023, to one woman chief economist among the 24 primary dealer companies.[12]

The relationship between the Fed and the primary dealers is governed by the Primary Dealers Act of 1988 and the Fed's operating policy "Administration of Relationships with Primary Dealers."[13] Primary dealers purchase the vast majority of the U.S. Treasury securities (T-bills, T-notes, and T-bonds) sold at auction, and resell them to the public. Their activities extend well beyond the Treasury market. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal Europe (2/9/06 p. 20), all of the top ten dealers in the foreign exchange market are also primary dealers, and between them account for almost 73% of foreign exchange trading volume. Arguably, this group's members are the most influential and powerful non-governmental institutions in global financial markets. Group membership changes slowly, with the current list available from the New York Fed.[7]

The primary dealers form a worldwide network that distributes new U.S. government debt. For example, Daiwa Securities and Mizuho Securities distribute the debt to Japanese buyers. BNP Paribas, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and NatWest Group distribute the debt to European buyers. Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup account for many American buyers. Nevertheless, most of these firms compete internationally and in all major financial centers.[citation needed]

In response to the subprime mortgage crisis and to the collapse of Bear Stearns, on March 19, 2008, the Federal Reserve set up the Primary Dealers Credit Facility (PDCF), whereby primary dealers could borrow at the Fed's discount window using several forms of collateral including mortgage-backed loans. The PDCF was closed on February 1, 2010.[14]

Primary dealers with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York[edit]

As of June 30, 2022, the New York Fed identifies the following 24 primary dealers:[7]


  1. ^ "How to Buy AGS | AOFM". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  2. ^ "Dealers - Artigo Dívida Pública Federal - STN". Retrieved 2017-01-03.
  3. ^ "Riksgalden: Primary dealers". Retrieved 2023-01-15.
  4. ^ "Primary Dealer Network" European Commission, European Union. Retrieved August 22, 2023.
  5. ^ "Appointment of Primary Dealers under the Institutional Bond Issuance Programme" Hong Kong Monetary Authority. September 30, 2023. Retrieved August 31, 2023.
  6. ^ "Government Bonds Primary Dealer System" National Treasury Management Agency (Ireland). Retrieved September 6, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c d Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Primary Dealers. Retrieved August 16, 2023.
  8. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of New York:Primary Dealer Policies. Retrieved March 12, 2008
  9. ^ Revolving Door search result for Federal Reserve System[permanent dead link]. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
  10. ^ Revolving Door search result for Treasury (executive offices)[permanent dead link]. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
  11. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Additions and Removals. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  12. ^ "Women Chief US Economists Have Gotten Even Rarer on Wall Street" Reade Pickert, Bloomberg Law, May 2, 2023. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  13. ^ Operating Policy, Federal Reserve, January 11, 2010. Retrieved October 5, 2011
  14. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of New York:Primary Dealer Credit Facility FAQ. Retrieved March 20, 2008

External links[edit]