History of OTC Markets Group

It was the early 1900s, and securities were offered through advertisements in financial publications and circulars distributed to clients and investment firms. Hardly a model of market efficiency. So a financier by the name of Roger Babson took it upon himself to do the necessary legwork to aggregate the wide array of securities offerings and quotations into one consolidated monthly publication.

The die was cast. From these humble beginnings, his organization, which became the National Quotation Bureau, or NQB, flourished and grew - as did off exchange trading. The company began publishing its directory of broker-dealer quotations on slips of pink paper, which became known as “Pink Sheets”. But still, despite all efforts, the lack of real-time transparency and marketplace organization meant investors were unable to access fair pricing or identify well-operated companies – and questionable companies were able to hide and flourish behind veils of opacity.

By 1997, the digital age was changing everything - including ownership of the company. With new ideas and a new vision, we bought the Pink Sheets from NQB and brought order and information to the market. Embracing technologies made available with the development of the internet, we created new tools to create new levels of transparency and efficiency. An electronic marketplace for the information age. An open, transparent and connected marketplace.

We responded to the needs of the trading community with the first real-time quotation service for off-exchange equities and bonds. We continued to pursue more transparency by launching www.otcmarkets.com, giving investors and broker-dealers around the world instant access to high-quality financial data.

And then, in 2003, we launched our electronic platform for U.S. and global securities, later OTC Link® ATS, operated by our wholly-owned subsidiary, OTC Link LLC, an SEC-registered Alternative Trading System (ATS) and FINRA member broker-dealer.

Today, an open network of broker-dealers price and trade the 10,000 securities on OTC Markets Group’s platform. Where a broad range of companies are organized into three markets – OTCQX, OTCQB and Pink – so investors can easily access and analyze the information companies make available, so that they can make informed trading decisions. Which, in turn, provides the best informed and most efficient markets for their securities.

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