The research arm of Dutch bancassurer ING has dropped coverage of about 60 major pan-European stocks after changes in research personnel, the company said.

ING did not elaborate on what those changes meant in its note, which was sent out just before midnight Friday. An ING spokesman could not comment on the nature of the changes or any possible job cuts.

The reduction in coverage is a consequence of focusing more on serving our home market clients in the Benelux and central and eastern Europe from our main offices in London, Amsterdam and Brussels, the spokesman told Reuters.

The 59 stocks dropped (plus two Russian preferred issues) came from across Europe. They were mainly concentrated in a few sectors, including telecom, drugs, autos and infrastructure.

Nearly a third are French stocks, while only one - KPN - is from ING's home base in the Netherlands. Half of the stocks had hold ratings prior to being discontinued.

ING is in the midst of a worldwide cost-cutting programme based largely on asset sales. It has said it aims to raise 6 billion to 8 billion euros via its program, and to exit 10 of the 48 countries in which it does business. (Reporting by Ben Berkowitz)