OTC Markets Newsletter
OTC Markets Group News MARCH 2015
Exchange Graduation, “Venture Exchanges” and Optimizing Public Markets for Small Companies

A Message from OTC Markets Group CEO Cromwell Coulson

Last year was a record ‘Exchange Graduation’ year with 83 companies up-listing from our OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink marketplaces to a NYSE, NASDAQ or NYSE MKT listing. In the past five years, more than 400 companies have graduated from our marketplaces to an exchange listing.

Market 2014 Graduates to
Main Boards
OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink - US 83
TSX Venture - Canada 22
LSE AIM Market - UK 5

Companies are not just graduating, but using our premium marketplaces to improve trading, transparency and trust for investors. In 2014, we experienced a 92% increase in the number of U.S. companies that qualified for our OTCQX marketplace, which included 34 community banks. There are over 660 small companies now verified for trading on our OTCQB Venture Marketplace, which is bringing visibility to smaller and development stage companies and has become America’s Venture Market.

We highlight these impressive numbers because “venture exchanges” are a current topic of discussion in Washington. Politicians, regulators, and market practitioners are discussing how to help small companies raise capital, go public and create more liquid trading markets. Optimizing public markets for growing small companies is a good idea and one we have pioneered here at OTC Markets Group. With a growing community of U.S. companies helping us build better markets, we look forward to continuing to play a key role in the trading of established and venture stage companies. The voices of our companies and broker-dealers need to be heard in Washington.

Click to read more.

Remove Capital Raising Restrictions on Small Companies

The top concern we hear from small companies is the need to remove duplicative state Blue Sky laws from capital raising and secondary trading. Currently, only a subset of companies are automatically exempt from Blue Sky laws for capital raising and secondary trading in all U.S. states and territories, mostly consisting of securities that are traded on a national stock exchange. State Blue Sky compliance has created a complex web of compliance costs for broker-dealers and many smaller companies, as well as a headache for investors who are interested in investing in their securities. This is especially true for companies that have gone to the expense and effort of a fully SEC registered offering or community banks that are reporting to a federal banking regulator.

Congress must act to ensure these strong forms of federal regulation and disclosure trump the complex and costly assortment of state Blue Sky requirements. Simplifying compliance through streamlined federal regulation when raising capital at the national level will go a long way toward helping smaller companies.

To remove the state Blue Sky roadblock, we should grant Blue Sky preemption to the securities of any company that is registered with the SEC (or federal banking regulators) and is current in its periodic disclosure. Likewise, securities issued via all SEC registered offerings should be preempted from state Blue Sky laws. This could be accomplished through a short, three-page Bill in Congress, or potentially through an SEC rulemaking process.

The states serve an important role in enforcing anti-fraud provisions and policing broker sales practices for all securities markets. Most states have a place for non-SEC reporting companies, but the states as a whole need to come together to make Blue Sky compliance possible in every jurisdiction. The North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA) coordinated review program is a great example of states working together, and we hope NASAA implements comparable streamlined processes for review of capital raising by non-SEC reporting companies and for the secondary trading compliance of companies that are not federally regulated. If not, Congress may need to step in to support the interstate commerce that makes our nation’s securities markets the envy of the world.

Ease the Burdens on Broker-Dealers Trading Securities

Our many years operating successful public marketplaces for small companies has taught us that the health of the broker-dealer ecosystem supporting small companies is paramount to small company trading success. Small companies rely on a diverse community of broker-dealers that includes large, automated trading firms providing retail investors with low cost trading; industry and regional specialists; and smaller broker-dealers that compete on price and customer service. The broker-dealer community helps small companies raise capital and go public, and supports small company trading in the secondary markets.

With fewer investment banks taking small companies public and the number of broker-dealers making markets in small company securities on the decline, we need to scrutinize the regulations and costs that are shrinking this valuable ecosystem.

Don’t Grant Exchange Monopolies

Some industry insiders are floating the misguided idea that small company trading should be consolidated on “venture exchanges.” This is an old idea that’s been around since the days of former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso: that markets are somehow better served if brokers can only trade on one exchange. We see it as asking regulators to grant a monopoly on secondary share trading to restrict competition.

Rules that require trades take place on an exchange are not good for investors or companies. Limiting choice and competition may look more orderly, but it is not what makes America’s financial markets great. We need to better focus our efforts on what is restricting small companies from raising capital and a diverse community of brokers from trading their securities.

“Venture Exchange” Rulemaking Should Include ATSs

We strongly believe any “venture exchange” legislation in Congress should be inclusive of marketplaces operated by SEC registered Alternative Trading Systems (ATSs). In highly regulated Europe, the UK AIM Market, NASDAQ’s First North, and other venture boards operate as Multilateral Trading Facilities (MTFs), Europe’s version of the ATS. If U.S. regulators supported this lighter regulatory touch, it will create more choices and lower costs for companies, brokers and investors. That is the right recipe for innovation.

As Congress and the SEC contemplate measures to enhance the public market for small companies, we must remind them that the necessary components of successful venture markets are small companies and the broker-dealers who support them. To read OTC Markets Group’s latest proposals to the SEC and Congress, visit the Public Policy Advocacy section of our website here. Please contact us at +1 (212) 896-4420 to let us know if there are any more small company market structure issues you believe politicians and regulators need to address.

Together, we are a strong community of companies, brokers, advisors, and investors, and Washington needs to hear our voice.

Click to close.

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT
[photo]Interview with Handan Saygin, SVP of Investor Relations for Garanti Bank

This month, Handan Saygin, SVP of Investor Relations for Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S. (“Garanti Bank”) (Istanbul Stock Exchange: GARAN; OTCQX: TKGBY), Turkey’s second largest private bank and the largest market capitalization company listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange, talks to us about the company’s many “firsts” in the global arena and how it is leveraging the OTCQX marketplace combined with international investor conferences, face-to-face meetings and innovative digital tools to communicate with investors around the world. Garanti Bank was the first Turkish company to issue shares in international markets in 1993 and became the first Turkish company to join OTCQX in 2012.

OTC Markets Group (OTCM): Tell us a little about Garanti. What do you do?

Handan Saygin: Established in 1946, Garanti is Turkey’s second largest private bank with consolidated assets exceeding USD $107 billion. Garanti commands a pioneering position in all lines of business through the profitable and sustainable growth strategy it pursued since the day of its establishment. Its competent and dynamic human resources, customer-centric service approach, innovative products and services offered with strict adherence to quality make Garanti a leader in the Turkish banking sector.

Garanti provides a wide range of financial services to its 13 million customers through a vast distribution network of more than one thousand bank branches, four thousand ATMs, an award-winning call center, internet, mobile and social banking platforms all built on superior technological infrastructure.

Click to read more.

Technology is an integral part in our decision-making, supporting process efficiencies and continuously driving Garanti forward. Garanti pioneers the future of banking with its technology-supported offerings and innovative banking services. In 2005, Garanti was the first bank in the world to offer SMS-based money transfer. It was the first bank in Turkey to create a “paperless banking” operating environment and the first bank in the world with ID scanning facilities in all of its branches since 2006. Garanti ATMs facilitate more than 200 transactions. Eighty-five percent of all financial transactions at Garanti occur via digital channels. Garanti is a leader with 31% market share in mobile financial transactions volume in Turkey. It is the first bank to start answering customers on Twitter and Facebook.

OTCM: Garanti became the first Turkish company to join OTCQX on June 26, 2012. What has been your experience on OTCQX and what are the benefits?

Ms. Saygin: Having issued shares in international markets as the first Turkish company more than 20 years ago, we were glad to be the first Turkish company to join OTCQX in 2012. It has enhanced Garanti's visibility in the U.S. and supported us to reach out to a broader investor base. We are committed to serve the growing number of investors in a proactive, transparent and consistent way. When we look at the geographical breakdown of our shareholders since 2012 within our actual free float of 49.95%, we see foreign institutional shareholders in North America have gained significant share from 24% to 38% and the share of our foreign retail investors is currently around 1.4%.

OTCM: What is your strategy for growing Garanti’s investor base in the U.S.?

Ms. Saygin: Garanti works to continuously and noticeably increase the value it creates for its stakeholders. Based on our transparent communication strategy with our stakeholders, we organize live webcasts/teleconferences periodically bringing our senior management together with the investment community and posting the podcasts on our Investor Relations website.

Leading the change in online and mobile banking, Garanti carries its innovative services to its transparent communication with its stakeholders. Having the largest floating market capitalization in Borsa Istanbul, Garanti has shareholders from around 40 countries. We believe in the importance of digital channels in conveying the value created.

Focusing on the needs of our stakeholders and particularly of the investment community, we introduced our Investor Relations (IR) website, www.garantiinvestorrelations.com, and iPad application to provide easy and timely access to all the information investors need. Investors follow our latest news and announcements as well as activities via the Investor Calendar function. The Investor Calculator and Interactive Share Chart function enable comparative analyses between Garanti’s shares and peer banks and indices in several currencies. Garanti’s IR website responds to the vast needs of various kinds of users with an Investor Kit and Download Center tools. Our Investor Relations iPad application, offering users access to the latest information anywhere and anytime, includes a rich library that consists of annual reports, sustainability reports, financial reports, corporate presentations and publications that can also be read offline and an app that sends notifications when new content is added.

In addition, during 2014, Garanti’s Investor Relations team participated in 29 national and international investor conferences held in 10 cities in Asia, the USA and Europe with the participation of the senior management team, and held face-to-face meetings with 822 international investment funds.

OTCM: What makes Garanti a compelling investment for U.S. investors and what else do you want U.S. investors to know about Garanti?

Ms. Saygin: Garanti Bank strongly believes that operating sustainably is a key driver to the long-term success of the Bank, and we aim to be the leader in introducing and implementing sustainable banking in Turkey.

Building on its core values, Garanti defines sustainability as a commitment to build a strong and successful business for the future while minimizing negative environmental and social impacts and sharing long-term values with its customers, staff, shareholders and the communities within which it operates.

Garanti aspires to achieve this commitment through technological innovations, managing the environmental footprint of its operations and developing sound environmental and social risk assessment.

Developing sustainable products and services, as well as proactively engaging with its stakeholders constitute the cornerstones of Garanti’s strategy in this field.

Garanti is further strengthening its sustainable banking approach through community investment programs in a variety of areas ranging from sports to education, arts to nature and informing the business world.

Behind Garanti’s success lie ethical values of a deeply rooted experience of over 68 years, a value placed on people and a 19,000-strong team of leaders with advanced management skills that believes in continuous improvement and is open to technological innovation.

Garanti, placing human-centricity at the heart of its core values, is committed to adding value for all its stakeholders. Garanti’s responsibility towards empowering society in all dimensions and its focus on sustainability for a better life is reflected in its proven track record of sustainable banking income generation. So, Garanti is ready for the future and I believe this plays an important role in investors' decision to be a shareholder. Thank you.

Click to close.

Light Up The Market
[photo]
Qantas Airways (OTCQX: QABSY)
Lights up the Market!


Follow us on Twitter at @OTCMarkets to keep up with OTCQX companies Lighting Up Their Market.

OTCQX companies Light up the Market in March to celebrate joining our best marketplace.

Blue Valley Ban Corp. (OTCQX: BVBC)
Community Capital Bancshares (OTCQX: ALBY)
Croghan Bancshares (OTCQX: CHBH)
CollPlant Holdings (OTCQX: CQPTY)
First Priority Financial Corp. (OTCQX: FPBK)
PBB Bancorp (OTCQX: PBCA)
Pinnacle Bank (OTCQX: PBNK)
Suncrest Bank (OTCQX: SBKK)
Monthly Trade Summary

February 2015

Marketplace Designations # of Securities* Monthly Dollar Volume Monthly Dollar Volume
per Security
YTD Dollar Volume
OTCQX® 373 $3,973,974,198 $10,654,086 $8,670,830,314
OTCQB® 2,161 $3,279,975,565 $1,517,805 $5,913,237,801
OTC Pink® 7,404 $11,597,818,449 $1,566,426 $25,647,298,294
Totals 9,938 $18,851,768,212 $1,896,938 $40,231,366,409
*Data as of February 28, 2015
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Events, Webinars & Sponsorships
News
IR Magazine Awards: Europe 2015 - London, UK (June 30, 2015)

17th Annual Financial Institutions Conference - Denver, CO (May 12-13, 2015)

KPMG Nasdaq/OTC Markets Cross Listing Seminar - Tokyo, Japan (May 11, 2015)

Financial Institutions Stock Liquidity Conference - Atlanta, GA (May 4-5, 2015)

STANY's 79th Annual Conference and Dinner - New York, NY (April 16, 2015)

4th Annual SNL Community Bankers Conference - Amelia Island, FL (April 15-16, 2015)

Contact us if you are interested in meeting us at one of these events.



View webcasts from the 27th Annual ROTH Conference held March 8-11 in Dana Point, CA:

Panel: Uplisting to a U.S. National Exchange

OTC Markets Group’s Company Presentation


Qantas broadens US reach with OTC upgrade - IR Magazine online (March 18, 2015)

Venture exchanges gaining momentum - The DealFlow Report (March 17, 2015) (subscription required to access)

Xignite Adds OTC Markets Level 1 Delayed Data - Inside Market Data (March 15, 2015)

OTC Markets Issues Statement on Senate Hearing on Venture Exchanges - Crowdfund Insider (March 10, 2015)

Community Capital Bancshares, of Albany, now trading on OTCQX - Albany Herald (March 5, 2015)

Suncrest Bank begins trading on OTCQX market - Fresno Bee (March 4, 2015)

BIT Poised to Become Publicly Traded Bitcoin Fund - The Wall Street Journal (March 1, 2015)

OTCQB Venture Marketplace Reaches 500 Verified Companies and OTCQB Composite Index Launched - press release (Feb. 26, 2015)

Women Who Serve as CEOs Talk About the Glass Ceiling - BankDirector.com (Feb. 25, 2015)

FirstAtlantic goes public, begins trading on OTCQX - Jacksonville Business Journal (Feb. 23, 2015)
REGULATION & COMPLIANCE
SEC Adopts Amendments to Regulation A

On March 25, the SEC approved amendments to Regulation A. The amendments create a two tier system, known as “Regulation A+” that allows companies to raise up to $50 million in a Regulation A offering. The amendments will be effective 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register. The text of the final rule can be found here. OTC Markets Group’s comment letter to the original Regulation A+ proposal can be found here.
MARKET DATA UPDATES
  • Xignite now distributes our delayed Level 1 quote data (price and size) and marketplaces for 10,000 OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink securities.

  • Security information for approximately 10,000 Grey Market securities was added to our real-time data feeds on February 27th. "Grey Market" or Other OTC securities are not currently eligible to be traded on the OTCQX, OTCQB or OTC Pink marketplaces, as broker-dealers are not willing or able to publicly quote these securities because of a lack of investor interest, company information availability or regulatory compliance.

For more information, contact our Market Data Services at +1.212.220.2166 or marketdata@otcmarkets.com.
OTCQX AND OTCQB NEW ADDITIONS
OTCQB
15 New Companies Qualified for Our Best Marketplace in February.

Alerus Financial Corp. (OTCQX: ALRS)
Allegheny Valley Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: AVLY)
Callinan Royalties Corporation (OTCQX: CCNMF)
Community Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: CMTV)
Croghan Bancshares, Inc. (OTCQX: CHBH)
Delanco Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: DLNO)
Farmers & Merchants Bancorp Inc. (OTCQX: FMAO)
First Advantage Bancorp. (OTCQX: FABK)

First National Community Bancorp (OTCQX: FNCB)
FirstAtlantic Financial Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: FFHD)
Little Bank, Inc. (THE) (Kinston, NC) (OTCQX: LTLB)
Metals X, Ltd. (OTCQX: MLXEF)
OurPet's Company (OTCQX: OPCO)
VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN)
Webjet Ltd. (OTCQX: WEBJF)
A complete list of OTCQX companies is available on www.otcmarkets.com.


OTCQB
97 Companies Verified to Trade on the OTCQB Venture Marketplace in February.

Abtech Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: ABHD)
Accelerize Inc. (OTCQB: ACLZ)
Advanced BioMedical Technologies, Inc. (OTCQB: ABMT)
Aim Exploration Inc. (OTCQB: AEXE)
Airware Labs Corp. (OTCQB: AIRW)
Alumina Limited (OTCQB: AWCMY)
Asia Properties, Inc. (OTCQB: ASPZ)
Astea International Inc. (OTCQB: ATEA)
Atna Resources Ltd. (OTCQB: ATNAF)
Axiom Oil and Gas Corp. (OTCQB: AXIO)
Baristas Coffee Company Inc. (OTCQB: BCCI)
Biomark Diagnostics Inc. (OTCQB: BMKDF)
BioPower Operations Corp (OTCQB: BOPO)
Blue Sphere Corp. (OTCQB: BLSP)
Boomerang Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: BMER)
Caprock Oil, Inc. (OTCQB: ROKO)
Careview Communications, Inc. (OTCQB: CRVW)
CDEX Inc. (OTCQB: CDEX)
Ceetop, Inc. (OTCQB: CTOP)
Cell MedX Corp. (OTCQB: CMXC)
Chilean Metals Inc. (OTCQB: CMETF)
City Media Inc. (OTCQB: CBDG)
CNS Response, Inc. (OTCQB: CNSO)
Comdisco Holding Co., Inc. (OTCQB: CDCO)
Communication Intelligence Corp. (OTCQB: CICI)
Crailar Technologies Inc. (OTCQB: CRLRF)
Deep Well Oil & Gas, Inc. (OTCQB: DWOG)
Digipath Inc (OTCQB: DIGP)
Elite Data Services Inc. (OTCQB: DEAC)
eMONEco, Inc. (OTCQB: EMON)
Energizer Tennis, Inc. (OTCQB: EZRT)
Enertopia Corp (OTCQB: ENRT)
Eyegate Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OTCQB: EYEG)
First American Group Inc (OTCQB: FAMG)
First Asia Holdings Limited (OTCQB: FAHLF)
FLASR Inc. (OTCQB: FLSR)
Formcap Corp. (OTCQB: FRMC)
Franchise Holdings International, Inc. (OTCQB: FNHI)
Fuel Performance Solutions, Inc. (OTCQB: IFUE)
Galaxy Gaming, Inc. (OTCQB: GLXZ)
Glorywin Entertainment Group, Inc. (OTCQB: GWIN)
Glucose Health, Inc. (OTCQB: GLUC)
Helius Medical Technologies, Inc. (OTCQB: HSDT)
Homeland Resources Ltd. (OTCQB: HMLA)
IMK Group, Inc. (OTCQB: IMKG)
Innovative Designs, Inc. (OTCQB: IVDN)
International Isotopes, Inc. (OTCQB: INIS)
International Stem Cell Corp. (OTCQB: ISCO)
IQnovate Ltd (OTCQB: IQNDY)
ITUS Corp. (OTCQB: ITUS)
Janel World Trade, Ltd. (OTCQB: JLWT)
Jayhawk Energy, Inc. (OTCQB: JYHW)
Juhl Energy, Inc. (OTCQB: JUHL)
Lexaria Corp. (OTCQB: LXRP)
LI3 Energy, Inc. (OTCQB: LIEG)
LifeLogger Technologies Corp. (OTCQB: LOGG)
LKA Gold Inc. (OTCQB: LKAI)
Medican Enterprises Inc (OTCQB: MDCN)
Mentor Capital, Inc. (OTCQB: MNTR)
Merriman Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: MERR)
MJ Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: MJNE)
MNB Holdings Corp. (OTCQB: MNBO)
Mopals.com, Inc. (OTCQB: PALS)
Moxian China, Inc. (OTCQB: MOXC)
MRI Interventions Inc (OTCQB: MRIC)
Multimedia Platforms, Inc. (OTCQB: MMPW)
MVB Financial Corp. (OTCQB: MVBF)
MyGo Games Holding Co. (OTCQB: MYGG)
New Jersey Mining Company (OTCQB: NJMC)
North American Nickel, Inc. (OTCQB: WSCRF)
Omega Brands Inc. (OTCQB: OMGB)
OriginOil, Inc. (OTCQB: OOIL)
Oxford City Football Club, Inc. (OTCQB: OXFC)
Pacific Financial Corp. (OTCQB: PFLC)
Peak Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCQB: PKPH)
PowerVerde, Inc. (OTCQB: PWVI)
Prime Acquisition Corp. (OTCQB: PAQUF)
Rainmaker Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: VCTL)
Response Biomedical Corp. (OTCQB: RPBIF)
SecureAlert, Inc. (OTCQB: SCRA)
Simba Energy Inc. (OTCQB: SMBZF)
SITO Mobile, Ltd. (OTCQB: SITO)
SmartChase Corp. (OTCQB: SCHS)
Socket Mobile, Inc. (OTCQB: SCKT)
Soul and Vibe Interactive Inc. (OTCQB: SOUL)
Spine Pain Management, Inc. (OTCQB: SPIN)
Spire Technologies Inc. (OTCQB: SPTK)
TransAKT Ltd. (OTCQB: TAKD)
Vgrab Communications Inc. (OTCQB: VGRBF)
Visualant, Inc. (OTCQB: VSUL)
Wall Street Media Co, Inc. (OTCQB: WSCO)
Wellness Center USA Inc (OTCQB: WCUI)
Wonhe High-Tech International, Inc. (OTCQB: WHHT)
Worlds Online, Inc. (OTCQB: WORX)
Worlds, Inc. (OTCQB: WDDD)
Yummies, Inc. (OTCQB: YUMM)
Zaxis International, Inc. (OTCQB: ZXSI)
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