Over-the-counter trading is for stocks too small or otherwise unready for exchange listing. OTC Markets Group offers these companies a systematic and economical way upstream, operating three platforms that are progressively more disciplined and less exchange lite, says CEO R. Cromwell Coulson. With 10,000 securities, including a growing cadre of community banks and international companies American depositary receipts, on his firms systems, hes like a proud parent. Running the company and continually upgrading its technology since 1997, Coulson over the past five years has seen nearly 400 companies, including 60 in 2015, graduate from his platforms to main boards operated by Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange. Comparable figures from two peer markets, Canadas TSX Venture Exchange and London Stock Exchange Groups AIM, were each in single digits. An equally significant point of pride for a corner of the securities markets historically snubbed as substandard: We had 100 percent core system reliability last year, says Coulson, 49, whos more than happy to be in the too-big-to-fail league, even if his company is below the most elite tier. The CEO sees New Yorkbased OTC Markets filling a void for entrepreneurs left behind by Nasdaqs upgrade to exchange status in 2006. The firms objectives center on the transparency of data and the connectivity of market participants. There are risks in this market, Coulson explains. We drive transparency so risk is appropriately priced. Our platform makes it easier for dealers to build clout around the liquidity they offer. For young companies OTC Markets offers a place to go when youre trying to figure it out. Among those launched last year on the top-level OTCQX platform: Bitcoin Investment Trust. We are an open market where entrepreneurs like Barry Silbert [CEO of the trusts sponsor, Grayscale Investments] are welcome without a lot of pain, cost and complexity, Coulson says.
2016 Trading Technology 40Click below to view profiles