It enables investors to participate in the growth of foreign blue chips. Investors may view real-time Level 2 quotes with detailed market data and market depth. SmartAsset Advisors, LLC (“SmartAsset”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Financial Insight Technology, is registered with the U.S. SmartAsset does not review the ongoing performance of any RIA/IAR, participate in the management of any user’s account by an RIA/IAR or provide advice regarding specific investments.

When this happens, the traders may be large institutions seeking to make a large trade of thousands of shares. The OTC platforms let them do this without revealing their identities or having an impact on share prices. OTC trades may include other kinds of securities besides stocks.

OTC exchanges are also known for the wide range of securities they’re willing to list. More specifically, prospective investors can buy from a collection of penny stocks, bonds and derivatives that would otherwise be largely unattainable. Trading on the OTC market happens on organized types of trading orders networks that are less formal than traditional stock exchanges. They are centered on the trading relationships and networks among dealers. The over-the-counter (OTC) market refers to the trading of securities outside of a formal exchange, usually in a broker-dealer network.

The market data division provides data and quote services for more than 11,500 OTC securities. The corporate services division helps companies go public and gain greater visibility through listing in one of OTC Markets Group’s three OTC tiers. how to buy ada on coinbase The process of purchasing or selling over-the-counter (OTC) stocks can be different from trading stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the Nasdaq. This is because OTC stocks are, by definition, not listed on the exchange.

“OTCM” Stands for over-the-counter market, which is a market where parties transact the buying and selling of securities with one another without a centralized exchange facilitating the process. “OTCM” can also refer to OTC Markets Group, which owns and operates a trading system to facilitate OTC trading. As of March 7, 2022, the dollar volume is $219 million and the share volume is $1.4 billion. The OTC Pink is the largest tier in terms of the number of companies listed within it.

How Do I Buy an Over-the-Counter Stock?

Basically, it’s selling stock that isn’t listed on a major security exchange. The over-the-counter market refers to securities trading that takes place outside of the major exchanges. There are more than 12,000 securities traded on the OTC market, including stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bonds, commodities and derivatives. It’s a network of over 100 broker-dealers with headquarters in New York. The group prices and trades a vast range of securities and markets on the OTC markets platform.

Instead of providing an order matchmaking service as with the NYSE, these dealers carry inventories of securities to facilitate any buy or sell orders. Penny stocks, shell companies, and companies in bankruptcy cannot qualify amp futures margins for a listing on the OTCQX. OTC stocks typically have lower share prices than those of exchange-listed companies. Many OTC stocks trade at less than $5 a share and are known as penny stocks or micro cap stocks.

  • An investor can trade stocks, bonds, derivatives, and foreign exchange currency on the OTC marketplace.
  • Alternative investments may lack diversification, involve complex tax structures and have delays in reporting important tax information.
  • The market maker will sponsor the issue as market makers are the only ones allowed to apply to have a quote listed.
  • OTC Link allows broker-dealers not only to post and disseminate their quotes but also to negotiate trades through the system’s electronic messaging capability.
  • The lack of liquidity could make it difficult to sell in the future.
  • Chat rooms, newsletters, and live streams are typical subscription offerings that beginners should review with great caution to avoid scams.

However, it is illegal to do so with any non-public data (also known as insider information), and penny stocks are more susceptible to insider trading and market manipulation than larger-cap companies. In addition to the decentralized nature of the OTC market, a key difference is the amount of information that companies make available to investors. The over-the-counter market is a network of companies that serve as a market maker for certain inexpensive and low-traded stocks, such as UK penny stocks.


All three tiers are provided and operated by the OTC Markets Group. This marketplace offers to trade in a wide range of equities through any broker and includes companies in default or financial distress. 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. The OTC market facilitates the trading of financial securities between two parties without the oversight of an exchange. A stock exchange is an exchange that oversees the buying and selling of stocks.

Over-the-counter exchanges do not have a physical location like their formal exchange counterparts. And remember, an OTC exchange is merely a listing of securities. If you’re considering investing in OTC securities, it’s important that you do your research and fully understand the risks you’re taking on. OTC securities are generally considered speculative investments.

Understanding Over-the-Counter Markets

Often referred to as penny stocks, they trade for less than $5 per share. Debt securities and other financial instruments, such as derivatives, are traded over the counter. Particular instruments such as bonds do not trade on a formal exchange – these also trade OTC by investment banks. OTC systems are used to trade unlisted stocks, examples of which include the OTCQX, OTCQB, and the OTC Pink marketplaces (previously the OTC Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets) in the US.

Over-the-Counter (OTC): Trading and Security Types Defined

Stocks that trade on an exchange are called listed stocks, whereas stocks that are traded over the counter are referred to as unlisted stocks. This tier indicates companies that are unwilling or unable to provide disclosure to the public markets. Companies in this category do not make current information available via OTC Markets disclosure and news service, or if they do, the available information is older than six months. This category includes defunct companies that have ceased operations as well as “dark” companies with questionable management and market disclosure practices. Securities of publicly traded companies that are not willing to provide information to investors are considered highly risky. Quotations for stocks in this tier are hidden from the public.

Types of OTC securities

It doesn’t have the breadth of services of Fidelity (few do), but speculative investors may find Firstrade a great fit, as it also doesn’t charge contract fees for options trading. Native Chinese speakers will appreciate Firstrade’s content and Chinese-speaking support staff. Or maybe the company can’t afford or doesn’t want to pay the listing fees of major exchanges. Whatever the case, the company could sell its stock on the over-the-counter market instead, and it would be selling “unlisted stock” or OTC securities.

Working with an adviser may come with potential downsides such as payment of fees (which will reduce returns). There are no guarantees that working with an adviser will yield positive returns. The existence of a fiduciary duty does not prevent the rise of potential conflicts of interest.