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OTC Markets Blog

Latest commentary on Market Structure, Compliance, Small Cap and Reg A+ issues, including insights on the news and trends that affect the public markets.

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Transparency

ESOPs: The Importance of Small Company Employee Ownership

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) allow employees to participate in the economic performance of a company, share in corporate profits, and save for retirement.  Congress has long recognized the advantages of employee ownership by authorizing and encouraging ESOPs through favorable tax treatment.

However, current IRS regulations significantly restrict the ability of many small public companies not traded on a national securities exchange to offer ESOPs to their employees.  These outdated regulations negatively impact hundreds of qualified, U.S.-based companies on the OTCQX and OTCQB markets that collectively employ over 100,000 workers. Continue reading “ESOPs: The Importance of Small Company Employee Ownership”

Blue Sky Recognition Continues to Gain Traction

OTC Markets Group Garners Blue Sky Exemptions in 35 States

Since May 2016, we have fostered an active dialogue with constituents at the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and individual state regulators with the goal of providing investors, companies, brokers and other market participants with a defined regulatory structure that recognizes the transparent current disclosure provided by OTCQX and OTCQB companies.  We appreciate the hard work and diligence of NASAA members as we work to achieve important exemptions for our OTCQX and OTCQB markets under state Blue Sky laws governing secondary trading. Continue reading “Blue Sky Recognition Continues to Gain Traction”

Regulation A 2019 Progress Report

Born out of the 2012 JOBS Act, Regulation A (Reg A) was amended to provide a streamlined pathway for companies to raise up to $50 Million while benefiting from general solicitation, ‘testing the waters’ and state Blue Sky preemption.  SEC reporting companies were originally excluded from using Reg A; however, in January 2019, the SEC adopted new rules to expand Reg A to SEC-reporting companies, enabling public companies to raise capital in a similar manner to a traditional IPO via an S-1 registration or an S-3 shelf registration. Continue reading “Regulation A 2019 Progress Report”

A Conversation with Qaravan Founder Tony Hodson

OTC Markets Group recently announced the acquisition of QaravanSM Inc., a leading provider of innovative  software and risk & performance analytics tailored to the banking industry.

We sat down with Tony Hodson, now the Senior Vice President of Market Data at OTC Markets Group, to learn more about how bank data and analytics have evolved over time. Continue reading “A Conversation with Qaravan Founder Tony Hodson”

May Marks the 5th Anniversary of OTCQX Banks

This month we’re pleased to celebrate the 5-year anniversary of the successful launch of OTCQX for Banks.  In May 2014, and with ten founding member banks at inception, OTCQX Banks was created to provide U.S. regional and community banks the opportunity to communicate their value proposition through a more cost-effective alternative. OTCQX Banks’ comprise some of the most established institutions, leveraging the OTCQX Market to provide the benefit of the public markets to their investors without the cost and complexity associated with trading on a traditional exchange.  Continue reading “May Marks the 5th Anniversary of OTCQX Banks”

Three Principles for Thriving Public Markets

Oscar Wilde once wrote that “Everything popular is wrong.” He was describing our natural tendency to find comfort with well-established people and widespread ideas. Regulators, faced with the opportunity to open markets to alternative choices, hear a chorus of respected voices resistant to change. The SEC took until the year 2000 to repeal Rule 390—the rule that gave the New York Stock Exchange a monopoly in trading Blue Chip securities. The principles of open, transparent and connected public markets prevailed.

We raise this as the old idea underlying Rule 390, centralization of trading, is now being pushed as a popular fix for small company liquidity and capital formation.   Of course, individual traders are determined to make trades in many different places, which means government intervention would be required to force stock trading back onto the largest stock exchanges[1]. Rent-seeking regulations are often cloaked in the language of “reform” and the public good.

Continue reading “Three Principles for Thriving Public Markets”

A Snapshot of the OTCQX Advisory Council

Since its inception in 2015, the OTCQX Advisory Council has provided valuable insight and support to the OTC Markets Group senior management team on key issues that impact OTCQX-traded issuers and the public markets. The Council is comprised of a ten-member board, with three members appointed in 2018 and seven new members appointed earlier this year.  Collectively, these Council members represent an impressive mix of U.S.-based CEOs and CFOs from a diverse range of geographic and industry sectors. Continue reading “A Snapshot of the OTCQX Advisory Council”

Community Bank Regulations Should Foster Main Street Growth

Banking regulation tends to be a partisan issue, but there’s one thing lawmakers are certain to agree on: America’s community banks are the backbone of the country’s economy.

Community banks serve a unique purpose. These institutions make over half of all U.S. small business loans, providing capital to entrepreneurs seeking to start businesses, and the financing needed for local businesses to grow. They provide jobs, help families buy homes and serve as the financial core for communities nationwide.  Continue reading “Community Bank Regulations Should Foster Main Street Growth”

Introducing the 2019 OTCQX® Best 50

OTC Markets is pleased to announce its 5th annual list of the top 50 U.S. and international companies traded on the OTCQX Best Market—the 2019 OTCQX® Best 50.  This year’s list speaks to a broad array of companies spanning all sizes, industries and geographic regions, from well-capitalized US community banks to Mega-Cap foreign exchange-listed Global brands. Continue reading “Introducing the 2019 OTCQX® Best 50”

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