Over-The-Counter Market

Dictionary Says

Definition of 'Over-The-Counter Market'


A decentralized market, without a central physical location, where market participants trade with one another through various communication modes such as the telephone, email and proprietary electronic trading systems. An over-the-counter (OTC) market and an exchange market are the two basic ways of organizing financial markets. In an OTC market, dealers act as market makers by quoting prices at which they will buy and sell a security or currency. A trade can be executed between two participants in an OTC market without others being aware of the price at which the transaction was effected. In general, OTC markets are therefore less transparent than exchanges and are also subject to fewer regulations.
 

Investopedia Says

Investopedia explains 'Over-The-Counter Market'


 
OTC markets are primarily used to trade bonds, currencies, derivatives and structured products. They can also be used to trade equities, such as the OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink marketplaces (previously the OTC Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets) in the U.S. Broker-dealers that operate in the U.S. OTC markets are regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

OTC markets are typically bifurcated into the customer market – where dealers trade with their clients such as corporations and institutions – and the interdealer market, where dealers trade with each other. The price a dealer quotes to a client may very well differ from the price it quotes to another dealer, and the bid-ask spread may also be wider in the case of the former than in the latter.

While OTC markets function well during normal times, their lack of transparency can cause a vicious circle to develop during times of financial stress, as was the case during the 2007-08 global credit crisis. Mortgage-backed securities and other derivatives such as CDOs and CMOs, which were traded solely in the OTC markets, could not be priced reliably as liquidity totally dried up in the absence of buyers. This resulted in an increasing number of dealers withdrawing from their market-making functions, exacerbating the liquidity problem and causing a worldwide credit crunch. Among the regulatory initiatives undertaken in the aftermath of the crisis to resolve this issue was the use of clearinghouses for post-trade processing of OTC trades.
 

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Valuation

    The process of determining the current worth of an asset or company. There are many techniques that can be used to determine value, some are subjective and others are objective.
  2. Valuation

    The process of determining the current worth of an asset or company. There are many techniques that can be used to determine value, some are subjective and others are objective.
  3. Tech Street

    A term used in the financial markets and the press to refer to the technology sector. Companies like Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Dell are all considered to be part of Tech Street.
  4. Tech Street

    A term used in the financial markets and the press to refer to the technology sector. Companies like Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Dell are all considered to be part of Tech Street.
  5. Momentum Investing

    An investment strategy that aims to capitalize on the continuance of existing trends in the market. The momentum investor believes that large increases in the price of a security will be followed by additional gains and vice versa for declining values.
  6. Momentum Investing

    An investment strategy that aims to capitalize on the continuance of existing trends in the market. The momentum investor believes that large increases in the price of a security will be followed by additional gains and vice versa for declining values.
Trading Center