April 18, 2016 / 10:35 PM / 3 years ago

Wells Fargo securities unit gets primary dealer designation

(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co’s securities unit was added to the list of primary dealers by the New York Federal Reserve on Monday in the latest sign of the bank’s more aggressive pursuit of Wall Street business.

Being a primary dealer could help Wells do more trading with large institutions, some of which only trade with primary dealers. Primary dealers trade U.S. government debt and other securities directly with the New York Fed.

The third-largest U.S. bank by assets, Wells still has a much smaller securities business than U.S. rivals like JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc. But it has ambitions to grow some parts of its capital markets operation, including bond trading.

Wells Fargo becomes the 23rd primary dealer, and the first new addition since TD Securities’ U.S. business was added to the list in February 2014.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a long-term process of working with the Fed,” a spokeswoman wrote via email.

In a statement, Walter Dolhare, head of Wells Fargo Securities’ markets division, called the designation “a logical extension” of its business model.

Reporting by Dan Freed in New York; editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Tom Brown

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