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OTC Markets Blog

Understanding Blue Sky Laws

The OTC equity market operates within a unique, often complex regulatory environment.  While much of the securities industry focuses solely on federal laws and regulation, the companies, broker-dealers, investors and others comprising the OTC market must understand the impact of state “Blue Sky” laws as well.  Continue reading “Understanding Blue Sky Laws”

Why pay-to-play research and marketing makes sense for ‘smicrocaps’

By David Collins, IR Magazine |  Tackling the challenges faced by small and micro-cap companies.

Life as a small or micro-cap public company is getting harder by the day as the pool of buy-side interest is shrinking almost as fast as sell-side research, and sales and capital markets sponsorship is contracting. Accordingly, the ‘smicrocap’ IRO’s task of finding worthwhile targets to pitch and introduce to management also grows more challenging – and, unfortunately, the smaller you are, the harder your job has become.

Continue reading “Why pay-to-play research and marketing makes sense for ‘smicrocaps’”

How Can We Take the Pain Out of Being Public?

A key driver of the American economy is the capital formation process that fosters innovation and new enterprises.   Entrepreneurs raise capital to grow their business, innovate and create jobs.  For many smaller companies, the expectation is to conduct an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and list on a stock exchange – hoping to build liquidity and visibility, and ultimately, long term shareholder value.  While these efforts are well-intention-ed, many companies today find themselves putting off the IPO because they do not want to be overwhelmed by the increasing management time commitment, red tape and costs associated with being a public company.

Continue reading “How Can We Take the Pain Out of Being Public?”

Don’t Look Now: You’re Public

Recently, at a Crowdfunding conference in L.A., I met with three company CEOs all in the process of doing Reg A+ deals.  When I asked them about their plans for secondary trading, I was surprised by the answer.  All three responded with some variation of “we don’t plan on going public – we will just issue the shares, there won’t be a market.”  Upon returning home I found another company advertising in GQ magazine offering shares for their Reg A+ deal.  In the Risks and Disclosure section of their Reg. A+ materials I came upon this statement: Continue reading “Don’t Look Now: You’re Public”

Shell Game

During conversations with compliance and risk departments over the past year, the topic of shell companies always comes up.  For diligent compliance officers the reason for this focus is obvious, shell companies and more specifically trading with their affiliates are noted specifically in key notices and regulations, including:

  • FINRA Regulatory Notice 09-05 – Unregistered Resales of Restricted Securities: Shell company status at the time of issuance is noted specifically as a red flag.
  • Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) Alert October 2014 – Broker Dealer Controls Regarding Customer Sales of Microcap Securities: The alert noted that companies with nominal assets and low operating revenue should be a consideration when considering whether to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR).
  • Rule 144 – Specifically bars the use of the 144 safe harbor for securities issued by a shell company or former shell company[i].

Continue reading “Shell Game”

6 Key Takeaways from Our Reg A+ Bootcamp

OTC Markets Group recently held a Regulation A+ Bootcamp at our OTC Market Center in Manhattan to educate public and private companies about how to do a successful Reg A+ offering and go public under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act).

Speakers included the team behind Elio Motors’ Reg A+ offering – Ron Miller of StartEngine Crowdfunding, Inc., Darren Marble of CrowdfundX, Scott Purcell of FundAmerica, LLC, and Seth Farbman and Yoel Goldfeder of VStock Transfer, LLC – as well as other crowdfunding industry experts who discussed everything from the current state of the Reg A+ market to how to crowdfund an offering to legal and accounting considerations, the escrow process, selecting a transfer agent and making shares tradable in a public market. Continue reading “6 Key Takeaways from Our Reg A+ Bootcamp”

Quality Recommendations

At first look, FINRA Rule 2114, Recommendations to Customers in OTC Equity Securities (The OTC Rec Rule), seems onerous and vague – two of a Compliance Officer’s least favorite adjectives.  The initial requirement reads as follows:

“No member or person associated with a member shall recommend that a customer purchase or sell short any OTC Equity Security, unless the member has reviewed the current financial statements of the issuer, current material business information about the issuer, and made a determination that such information, and any other information available, provides a reasonable basis under the circumstances for making the recommendation.”
Continue reading “Quality Recommendations”

Don’t Be Pound Foolish

Which US Equity Market has the largest number of securities NOT considered Penny Stocks according to SEC Rule 3a51-1? Based on the location of this post, you should be able to guess…. but that should make it no less surprising.  The numbers speak for themselves:

Number of Non-Penny Stocks*:

  • OTC Markets: 3,188
  • NYSE: 3,175
  • Nasdaq: 3,170

*Data as of 9/30/16

While this may cause some to do a double-take, the data is totally rational to those who have followed the OTC Market over the past 10 years.  A number of key developments have made OTC Markets the market of choice for quality international and U.S issuers: Continue reading “Don’t Be Pound Foolish”

What it means to be a Venture Market

Public venture markets play a vital role in fostering capital formation and driving growth for early stage companies.  Just look at the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market, which since its launch has served over 3,600 venture stage companies, or the Toronto Stock Exchange’s TSX Venture Exchange that supports growing companies from the mining and energy sectors.  Most recently, the OTCQB Venture Market in the U.S. currently provides over 850 entrepreneurial companies a gateway to public markets and an opportunity to electronically connect with investors. Continue reading “What it means to be a Venture Market”

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