Pink Sheets, a company that provides services for the US over-the-counter securities markets, introduced an alternative trading system on March 5 for international companies listed on qualified foreign stock exchanges. Pink Sheets selected The Bank of New York as the first depositary bank to service ADRs on the new International OTCQX, which provides trading, quotation and disclosure services for companies that trade on the OTC markets. The bank was approved as a principal American liaison, or PAL, for the new Pink Sheets market tier for companies that have a Level I sponsored ADR program in the United States.
Companies that are listed on a qualified international exchange, such as the London Stock Exchange or the Hong Kong Exchange, are eligible to have their securities included in the premium tier International OTCQX. The alternative market allows non-US issuers to be exempt from Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements and Sarbanes-Oxley, but requires that the company’s home-country disclosure be posted in English on the Pink Sheets’ websites so that US investors can easily access it.
The service offers a premier tier for the largest of the international companies that meet the financial qualifications of the New York Stock Exchange’s worldwide listing standards, and a prime tier for smaller companies. Christopher Sturdy, executive vice president and head of The Bank of New York’s depositary receipt division, says the new program will help clients’ ADRs gain greater visibility and liquidity.