The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently published in the Federal Register the National Association of Securities Dealers’ (NASD®) proposed rule change for the OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB). The full text of the rule proposal (Filing number SR-NASD-98-51) can be viewed on-line at the Federal Register.
OTC securities are quoted in media where there are no listing requirements and often, no public information available. The NASD proposal is intended to balance the benefits that the transparency of the OTCBB provides with the public need for information about the issuers being quoted.
OTC Bulletin Board Eligibility Rule
This proposed rule change will ensure that current financial information about domestic companies that are quoted on the OTCBB is publicly available. Presently, NASD rules require foreign and American Depositary Receipts (ADR) issuers to file periodic reports with the SEC in order to be quoted on the OTCBB. The NASD has proposing to extend that requirement to domestic securities. The rule, if approved, will permit only those domestic companies that report their current financial information to the SEC, banking, or insurance regulators to be quoted on the OTCBB.
- This requirement will be immediately effective upon approval by the SEC for securities not currently quoted on the OTCBB.
- Non-reporting companies whose securities are already quoted on the OTCBB will have between 6 and 18 months (depending on where they fall in a phase-in period) to comply with the new requirements once the rule becomes effective.
- If an issuer becomes delinquent in its reports, there will be a grace period of 30 - 60 days (depending on the type of issuer) during which Market Makers may continue to quote the security.
Comments to the SEC may be submitted via electronic mail or in writing. E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include the file number, SR-NASD-98-51, in the subject line.
If you would prefer to submit comments through the U.S. mail, send six copies to:
Jonathan G. Katz
The Securities and Exchange Commission
450 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20549
Other regulatory initiatives regarding the OTC market are still under consideration by the SEC.