Law Blog Category: OTCQB and OTCQX
Back in October and November of 2011, I wrote a series of blogs regarding DTC eligibility for OTC (over-the-counter) Issuers. OTC Issuers include all companies, whose securities trade on the over-the-counter market, including the OTCBB, OTCQB and pinksheets. Many OTC Issuers have faced a “DTC chill” without understanding what it is, let alone how to correct the problem. In technical terms, a DTC chill is the suspension of certain DTC services with respect to an Issuer’s securities. Those services can be book-entry clearing and settlement services, deposit services or withdrawal services. A chill can pertain to one or all of these services. In the case of a chill on all services, the term of art is a “global lock.”
For the past two years it had appeared that the OTCBB had been replaced by the OTC Link run OTCQB and the OTCQX. For all intents and purposes since the fall of 2010, the industry-wide proliferation of the OTCQB and OTCQX has marginalized the OTCBB to the brink of extinction. It is has now become incredibly apparent that the OTCQB is the new micro-cap reporting standard.
SEC Grants Accelerated Approval to FINRA Rule Amendment Regarding Minimum Quotation Size Requirements for OTC Equity Securities
On June 15, 2012, the SEC granted accelerated approval to an amendment to FINRA rule 6433 related to the minimum quotation size for OTC equity securities. Rule 6433 applies to all market makers. Rule 6433 sets forth the specific minimum quotation size requirements in tiers that are based on the price of the OTC equity security being quoted by the market maker. In addition, the rule change will require market makers to publish customer limit orders.
Last week I wrote a blog introducing, at least to me, Private Company Market Places (PCMP). A PCMP is a trading platform, such as SharePost or SecondMarket that provides a market place for illiquid restricted securities, such as private company securities, 144 stock, debt instruments, warrants, and the like or alternative assets. It is on a PCMP that Facebook’s shares currently trade and where pre-IPO Groupon and LInkedin received their trading start.
As I discussed in a recent blog, the attraction of the small cap and reverse merger market has diminished greatly in the past two years. The Over the Counter market has become an expensive place to conduct business; the antithesis of the very reason small companies sought to list there to begin with. Accessing capital markets for microcap companies is not as simple as it once was.
This is the third in a series of articles I am writing regarding DTC (Depository Trust Company) eligibility for OTC (Over the Counter) Issuers. OTC Issuers include all companies whose securities trade on the over the counter market, including the OTCBB, OTCQB and Pink Sheets. All technical information in this article comes from the DTC website.