For the last couple of years, we've reported some of the trading statistics released by the OTC Markets. Today, they released their latest numbers.
According to their data, the number of transparent, credible companies seems to be growing while the number of “dark” firms (i.e., those that do not provide much [or timely] information) appears to be shrinking. We compared the numbers from 2009, 2010, 2011 and the numbers as of July 2012. The OTC Markets have several tiers:
OTCQX - the highest tier for companies that go through a rigorous review and meet certain financial standards. This group has more than tripled in size since 2009:
2009: 78 companies
July 2012: 385
OTCQB - for companies that are "reporting" to the SEC or a banking regulator and are current in their reporting requirements. This group (with the 2009 numbers combined between the OTCBB on Pink Quote and the OTCBB only) has seen small decreases, year-to-year, since 2010:
July 2012: 3,510
The decreases could be due to a number of reasons – for example, companies could have voluntarily decided to move to the pink sheets (to save money) or they could have been forced to do so due to failures in their reporting obligations, or they may have been promoted to a higher exchange, either within the OTC Markets, or to NASDAQ or one of the other exchanges.
OTC Pink Current Information - for companies that follow certain standards and make certain information available through the OTC Market's news and disclosure service. This group has risen steadily since 2009:
July 2012: 2,353
OTC Pink Limited Information - for companies that may or may not be troubled, but have not been current in reporting through the OTC Market's news and disclosure service. This group has seen decreases in two consecutive years:
July 2012: 645
OTC Pink No Information - which includes "defunct companies that have ceased operations as well as 'dark' companies with questionable management and market disclosure practices." This group saw a sharp rise between 2009 and 2010, but has decreased substantially (by over 10%) over the last year:
July 2012: 2,982