The venture stage marketplace for smaller or early-stage companies that report to a U.S. regulator such as the SEC or FDIC. The OTCQB is the middle tier of the three marketplaces for trading over-the-counter stocks provided and operated by the OTC Markets Group. The OTCQB has replaced the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)-operated OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB) as the main market for trading OTC securities that report to a U.S. regulator. As it has no minimum financial standards, the OTCQB includes shell companies, penny stocks and small foreign issuers.


Most broker-dealers electronically quote prices for securities of SEC-reporting companies on the OTCQB marketplace through OTC Link, an inter-dealer quotation and trading system developed by OTC Markets Group. OTC Link is registered with the SEC as a broker-dealer and also as an alternative trading system (ATS). OTC Link enables broker-dealers not only to post and disseminate their quotes, but also negotiate trades through the system’s electronic messaging capability. This feature enabled it to effectively replace FINRA’s OTCBB, which was a quotation-only system.

All broker-dealers that trade OTCQB, OTCQX and OTC Pink securities have to be FINRA members and registered with the SEC; they are also subject to state securities regulations.
As with exchange-traded securities, investors trading OTC securities are protected from an unethical broker-dealer’s illegal practices by the same SEC / FINRA rules such as Best Execution, Limit Order Protection, Firm Quotes, and Short Position Disclosure.

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  1. What does it mean when a stock trades on the Pink Sheets or the OTCBB?

    The stocks of well-known companies such as General Electric and Microsoft trade on major exchanges such as the New York Stock ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can investors short sell pink sheet or over-the-counter stocks?

    Short selling is an effective trading strategy that can be employed to hedge the risk of a loss on an off-setting position ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the steps to get a company listed on the OTCBB?

    The over-the-counter bulletin board (OTCBB) is a regulated quotation service for over-the-counter (OTC) securities. The securities ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does a company move from an OTC market to a major exchange?

    The over-the-counter market is not an actual exchange like the NYSE or Nasdaq. Instead, it is a network of companies that ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do penny stocks trade after hours?

    Penny stocks are common shares of public companies that trade at a low price per share. These companies are normally small, ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is a "pink sheet" in the context of an OTC (over-the-counter) transaction?

    In the over-the-counter (OTC) market, pink sheets are daily publications with bid and ask prices of over-the-counter stocks. ... Read Full Answer >>

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