FINRA’s OTCBB Replacement To Report Six Digit Trade Prices
Recently, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) announced its intention to shut down the OTCBB.com website it had run for many years. FINRA originally tried to sell the site and the accompanying trading platform, but the effort failed as OTC Markets Group’s OTC Link became the platform of choice for nearly all OTC issuers. That was because the OTCBB never automated its system—all trades were executed by telephone—and charged market makers hefty fees to use the service.
The OTCBB.com site contained a good deal of information unrelated to the trading platform: the OTC Equity Short Interest reports, trading halt notices, a variety of market statistics, and the Daily List.
Most penny stock observers depend on the Daily List for information about stock splits, dividends, and other corporate actions, and are disappointed by its new iteration at finra.org. At the old site, it was possible to search for past and present actions for a single issuer and related tickers; that can no longer be done.
The new Daily List and accompanying resources made its appearance on November 17. Another major change went unnoticed for a few more days. On the same date, FINRA migrated its technology for reporting trades in OTC issues to a new OTC Reporting Facility (“ORF”) platform. Plans for the migration had been underway since early in the year. Most of the technical implications will not affect traders, but one feature grabbed their attention: trades are now being reported out to six digits. As a result, transactions executed below $0.0001 no longer print as $0.00; they print as, for example, $0.000098. So far, the lowest price recorded seems to be $0.00001.
FINRA is to be applauded for creating more transparency for OTC issues, especially those that have lost their bid. But for many, the action begged the question of whether market makers would now, or in the near future, be allowed to publish quotes below $0.0001. That, however, will not change; as before, “a member may rank or accept (but not display) such order or indication of interest in an increment of $0.000001 or greater.”
It took a week for more for some data providers to catch up to the new standard for trade price reporting, but by now nearly all are compliant.
For further information about this securities law blog post, please contact Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney at 101 Plaza Real S, Suite 202 N, Boca Raton, Florida, (561) 416-8956, by email at [email protected] or visit www.securitieslawyer101.com. This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.
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