R. Cromwell Coulson didn’t just grudgingly accept the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation SCI (Systems Compliance and Integrity). When the rule, designed to ensure the reliability of financial market operations, was adopted in November, he celebrated. His company’s OTC Link alternative trading system falls under SCI. As a result, “we will step up our game — we become better because of it,” says Coulson, who has run New York–based OTC Markets Group since 1997. The firm now has 85 employees and trades 10,000 securities on its three segmented marketplaces for over-the-counter shares and American depositary receipts. The 48-year-old president and CEO has long contended that these platforms are as “mission critical” as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market. As an “SCI entity,” he proclaims, “we have joined that club.” OTC Markets is “the third option [after NYSE and Nasdaq] for companies looking to go public, be transparent and provide liquidity to shareholders.” Looking ahead, he adds: “We have a lot of work to do. Technology is a big part of it. That is the lifeblood of this business.” Upgrades are in the offing for broker-dealer connectivity and disaster recovery. “The best way to prove you have good disaster recovery systems is to run production systems on them, and we will do that this year,” Coulson says. After raising operational and eligibility standards in 2014, OTC Markets is positioning its OTCQB venture-stage platform to be for the U.S. what TMX Group’s TSX Venture Exchange is in Canada and London Stock Exchange Group’s AIM is in Europe.