A recent change to how SEC reporting issuers trade on the over-the-counter markets caused more than a little anxiety among those caught off guard. Until now, most small, fully-reporting issuers believed they were being listed exclusively on FINRA’s OTCBB®. However, unbeknownst to many OTC investors, there are many Fully-Reporting Issuers trading solely on what is commonly referred to as the “Pink Sheets”, owned and controlled by Pink OTC Markets, Inc. A restriction put in place in 2000, allowing only Fully-Reporting Issuers to trade on the OTCBB only reinforced this erroneous assumption, making it appear that they were the only OTC market where these securities could be quoted -- Not the case at all.
In fact, 98% of all FINRA licensed market makers place quotations on both the OTCBB AND on the Pink Sheet platform. Superior performance and functionality along with lower costs associated with Pink OTC versus the platform provided for OTCBB® trading by FINRA have further led many market makers to remove quotation of securities from the OTCBB platform, altogether, causing some 500 securities to be automatically "delisted" to the Pink Sheets even though they were current with their reporting obligations with the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
On April 5, 2010, Pink OTC created a new marketplace called the OTCQB, in an effort to assist investors in distinguishing Pink Sheet traded securities that are Fully Reporting Issuers from non-reporting issuers, while allowing recently delisted OTCBB® securities to get the
recognition that, while now trading solely on the Pink Sheets, are current with their obligations under the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and are in good standing with the SEC with regards to these obligations.
This new OTCQB marketplace will ensure that investors know that Pink OTC has many Fully-Reporting Issuers approved for trading solely on the Pink OTC platform. In the future, as long as the issuer is listed with the Pink Sheets and is current in its reporting, it will be designated as an OTCQB security. If a company is late in its reporting requirements, it would be dropped to the designation of Pink Sheets –Current Information (see link below for Pink Sheet tier system). Once current again with the SEC, the Issuer will be moved immediately back to the OTCQB marketplace.
As an interesting side note, FINRA recently has been trying to dump the OTCBB. Seems they are tiring of keeping up with it, considering their main gig as a quasi governmental organization set up to monitor and regulate SEC licensed brokerage firms and representatives, and to maintain the entire NASDAQ system!
In short, it may take awhile for investors and Issuers to come to the conclusion there is no real difference between an OTCBB® listed security and a Fully Reporting Issuer trading on the Pink Sheets now under the OTCQB designation. The recent move by many market makers to pull quotes on the OTCBB® platform causing a mass delisting to the Pink Sheets may be a precursor to the end of the importance of being listed on the OTCBB®. As the old saying goes, will the last person to leave the OTCBB® turn out the lights!
For more information on listing your company’s securities on the OTCBB® and/or the OTCQBTM, please contact our firm at (918) 960-1215 or email us at info@GrowPublic.com
Pink OTC Market, Inc.
OTCQB Fact Sheet
Pink OTC Market Tier Breakdown