Category: OTC Markets

OTC Markets: OTC Markets divide issuers into three (3) levels of quotation marketplaces: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink. The OTC Pink, which involves the highest-risk, highly speculative securities, is further divided into three tiers: Current Information, Limited Information and No Information. This page provides a summary of the listing requirements for each level of quotation on OTC Markets…

Feb102015

OTC Markets Quotation Levels, Listing Requirements, and Comprehensive Pubco Criteria

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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OTC Markets divide issuers into three (3) levels of quotation marketplaces: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink.  The OTC Pink, which involves the highest-risk, highly speculative securities, is further divided into three tiers: Current Information, Limited Information and No Information.   This page provides a summary of the listing requirements for each level of quotation on OTC Markets.

OTCQX

The OTCQX divides its listing criteria between U.S. companies and International companies, though they are very similar.  The OTCQX has two tiers of quotation for U.S. companies: (i) OTCQX U.S. Premier (also eligible to quote on a national exchange); and (ii) OTCQX U.S. and two tiers for International companies: (i) OTCQX International Premier; and (ii) OTCQX International.  Quotation is available for American Depository Receipts (ADR’s) or foreign ordinary securities of companies traded on a Qualifying Foreign Stock Exchange, and an expedited application process is available for such companies.

Issuers on the OTCQX must meet specified eligibility

Oct282014

FINRA Seeks to Eliminate the OTCBB and Impose Regulations on the OTC Markets

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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On October 7, 2014, the SEC published a release instituting proceedings to determine whether to approve FINRA’s request to delete the rules related to, and the operations of, the OTC Bulletin Board quotation service.  On June 27, 2014, FINRA quietly filed a proposed rule change with the SEC seeking to adopt rules relating to the quotation requirements for OTC equity services and to delete the rules relating to the OTCBB and thus cease its operations.  Although the rule filing was published in the Federal Register, it garnered no attention in the small cap marketplace.  Only one comment letter, from OTC Market Group, Inc. (“OTC Markets”) (i.e., the entity that owns and operates the inter-dealer quotation system known by its OTC Pink, OTCQB and OTCQX quotation tiers) was submitted in response to the filing.

The OTCBB has become increasingly irrelevant in the OTC marketplace for years.  In October 2010, I wrote a blog titled

Sep302014

The ECOS Matter; When Is A Reverse Split Effective?

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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In what was presumably an unintended consequence, the application of an SEC- approved FINRA regulation has resulted in a conflict between state and federal corporate law for a small publicly traded company.

On September 16, 2014, Ecolocap Solutions, Inc. (“ECOS”) filed a Form 8-K in which it disclosed that FINRA had refused to process its 1-for-2,000 reverse split.  At the time of the FINRA refusal, ECOS had already received board and shareholder approval and had filed the necessary amended articles with the State of Nevada, legally effectuating the reverse split in accordance with state law.  Moreover, ECOS is subject to the reporting requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”), and had filed a preliminary and then definitive 14C information statement with the SEC, reporting the shareholder approval of the split.

The ECOS 8-K attached a copy of the FINRA denial letter, which can be viewed HERE

Sep082014

OTCQX Listing and Quotation Eligibility and Requirements for International Companies

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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On May 23, 2014, OTC Markets Group, Inc., published its updated OTCQX Rules for International Companies version 6.7.  This blog summarizes those rules.  A complete copy of the rules is available on the OTC Link website, otcmarkets.com.

Background

The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink.

The OTCQX has two tiers of quotation for U.S. companies: (i) OTCQX International Premier; and (ii) OTCQX International.  International issuers on the OTCQX must meet specified eligibility requirements.  Quotation is available for American Depository Receipts (ADR’s) or foreign ordinary securities of companies traded on a Qualifying Foreign Stock Exchange.

International issuers on the OTCQB must either be fully reporting and current in their SEC reporting obligations or qualify for the Rule 12g3-2(b) exemption from SEC registration for foreign private issuers.  In addition, OTCQB entities must meet minimum price standards, file annual reports and pay annual fees, but do not undergo additional quality

Jul292014

Direct Public Offerings by Shell Companies- Tread Carefully

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As I’ve written about previously, recently (albeit not officially) the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has materially altered its position on offerings by shell companies that are not blank check companies.  In particular, over the past year, numerous shell companies that are not also blank check companies have completed direct public offerings using a S-1 registration statement and successfully obtained market maker support and a ticker symbol from FINRA and are trading.

Rule 419 and Blank Check Companies

The provisions of Rule 419 apply to every registration statement filed under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, by a blank check company.  Rule 419 requires that the

Jul222014

Completing A Name Change Without Shareholder Approval

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Generally a name change is completed through an amendment to a company’s articles of incorporation.  Moreover, amendments to articles of incorporation generally require shareholder consent, which can be time-consuming and expensive and become even more so if the company is subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

All companies with securities registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (i.e., through the filing of a Form 10 or Form 8-A) are subject to the Exchange Act proxy requirements found in Section 14 and the rules promulgated thereunder.  The proxy rules govern the disclosure in materials used to solicit shareholders’ votes in annual or special meetings held for the approval of any corporate action requiring shareholder approval.  The information contained in proxy materials must be filed with the SEC in advance of any solicitation to ensure compliance with the disclosure

Apr222014

OTCQX Listing and Quotation Eligibility and Requirements for U.S. Companies

On February 13, 2014, OTC Markets Group, Inc., published its OTCQX Rules For U.S. Companies version 6.5.  This blog summarizes those rules.  A complete copy of the rules are available on the OTC Link website, otcmarkets.com.

Background

The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink.

The OTCQX has two tiers of quotation for U.S. companies: (i) OTCQX U.S. Premier (also eligible to quote on a national exchange); and (ii) OTCQX U.S. issuers on the OTCQX must meet specified eligibility requirements, which interestingly do not include a requirement as to being subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) for OTCQX U.S.  Moreover, OTC Markets has the discretionary authority to allow quotation to substantially capitalized acquisition entities that are analogous to SPAC’s.

Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their SEC reporting obligations, meet minimum price standards, file annual reports and pay annual fees, but do

Apr012014

OTC Markets has Modified its OTCQB Eligibility Criteria Effective May 1, 2014

 OTC Markets has unveiled changes to be quoted on the OTCQB, which changes become effective May 1, 2014.  The OTC Markets changes are designed to attract venture investors to provide more information to investors and to improve such information with Real-Time Level 2 quotes.  The OTC Markets press and informational releases related to the change concentrate on the push to create a successful venture-stage marketplace by removing underperforming companies.

Background

The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink.

Issuers on the OTCQX must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC and also undergo a quality review by industry professionals.  Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their reporting

Jan212014

Direct Public Offering or Reverse Merger; Know Your Best Option for Going Public

Introduction

For at least the last twelve months, I have received calls daily from companies wanting to go public.  This interest in going public transactions signifies a big change from the few years prior.

Beginning in 2009, the small-cap and reverse merger, initial public offering (IPO) and direct public offering (DPO) markets diminished greatly.  I can identify at least seven main reasons for the downfall of the going public transactions.  Briefly, those reasons are:  (1) the general state of the economy, plainly stated, was not good; (2) backlash from a series of fraud allegations, SEC enforcement actions, and trading suspensions of Chinese companies following reverse mergers; (3) the 2008 Rule 144 amendments including the prohibition of use of the rule for shell company and former shell company shareholders; (4) problems clearing penny stock with broker dealers and FINRA’s enforcement of broker-dealer and clearing house due diligence requirements related to penny stocks; (5) DTC scrutiny and difficulty in obtaining clearance following

Aug132013

SEC Updates May Benefit Equity Line Financing Providers and Issuers

On May 16, 2013, the SEC updated their Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations addressing the point at which an equity line agreement can be determined to be a completed transaction for purposes of filing a resale registration statement. 

Background

Equity line financings are transactions where a company has a long-term contract to put shares to an investor (the equity line provider) at a price, generally determined by a formula based on a discount to market price.  That is, the Issuer has the right to tell the investor when to buy securities from the Issuer over a set period of time and the investor has no right to decline to purchase the securities (or a limited right to decline).  Generally, the dollar value of the