Primary dealers are AFT’s close counterparties for all of its market operations. They advise and assist AFT with its issuance policy and debt management, and more generally, with any matter concerning the smooth operation of markets.
The members of the primary dealers' group have changed over time. Their ranks grew from 13 in 1987 to 22 soon after 2000.They number fifteen for the period 2022-2024. Today’s group of primary dealers represents the diversity of institutions active on the French government debt market: major retail banks, specialised institutions, and French and foreign institutions.
Primary dealers are selected by the Minister for the Economy on the recommendation of the Director General of the Treasury, Chairman of AFT. The Director General of the Treasury may seek the opinion of a selection committee when making his recommendations.
At 31 December 2022, the group of primary dealers included four French institutions, two German institutions, three British institutions, five North American institutions and one Japanese institution. This diversity underlines the central role and appeal of French Treasury securities on the euro debt market :
- BANK OF AMERICA SECURITIES (BofA Securities Europe SA),
- BARCLAYS (Barclays Europe Plc),
- BNP PARIBAS (BNP Paribas SA),
- CITI (Citigroup Global Markets Europe AG),
- COMMERZBANK (Commerzbank AG),
- CRÉDIT AGRICOLE - CIB (Crédit agricole - CIB SA),
- DEUTSCHE BANK (Deutsche Bank AG),
- GOLDMAN SACHS (Goldman Sachs Bank Europe SE),
- HSBC (HSBC Continental Europe SA),
- JP MORGAN (J.P. Morgan SE),
- MORGAN STANLEY (Morgan Stanley Europe SE),
- NATIXIS (Natixis SA),
- NATWEST MARKETS (Natwest Markets NV),
- NOMURA (Nomura Financial Products Europe GmbH),
- SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE (Société générale SA).
It is the primary dealers’ responsibility to participate in auctions and syndicated operations, place Treasury securities and ensure the liquidity of the secondary market.
AFT deals with them as necessary for them to perform their duties:
- overseeing the proper functioning of primary issues;
- ensuring the liquidity of the secondary market in French Treasury securities and upholding their status as one of the euro area’s most liquid securities;
- promoting the market for Treasury securities;
- providing constant and highly pertinent advice to AFT on issuance policy, debt management, promoting the State’s creditworthiness, hedging the State’s financial risks and the workings of the fixed-income markets.
These duties are set out in a charter that governs the relations between AFT and the primary dealers, who have signed the charter and pledged to comply with it in its updated version. They also undertake to act ethically and comply with best marketplace practices when carrying out their transactions.