Securities Lawyer's Deskbook
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Securities Exchange Act of 1934

Section 17B -- Automated Quotation Systems for Penny Stocks

  1. Findings

    The Congress finds that--

    1. the market for penny stocks suffers from a lack of reliable and accurate quotation and last sale information available to investors and regulators;

    2. it is in the public interest and appropriate for the protection of investors and the maintenance of fair and orderly markets to improve significantly the information available to brokers, dealers, investors, and regulators with respect to quotations for and transactions in penny stocks; and

    3. a fully implemented automated quotation system for penny stocks would meet the information needs of investors and market participants and would add visibility and regulatory and surveillance data to that market.

  2. Mandate to facilitate establishment of automated quotation systems

    1. In general

      The Commission shall facilitate the widespread dissemination of reliable and accurate last sale and quotation information with respect to penny stocks in accordance with the findings set forth in subsection (a) of this section with a view toward establishing, at the earliest feasible time, one or more automated quotation systems that will collect and disseminate information regarding all penny stocks.

    2. Characteristics of systems

      Each such automated quotation system shall--

      1. be operated by a registered securities association or a national securities exchange in accordance with such rules as the Commission and these entities shall prescribe;

      2. collect and disseminate quotation and transaction information;

      3. except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, provide bid and ask quotations of participating brokers or dealers, or comparably accurate and reliable pricing information, which shall constitute firm bids or offers for at least such minimum numbers of shares or minimum dollar amounts as the Commission and the registered securities association or national securities exchange shall require; and

      4. provide for the reporting of the volume of penny stock transactions, including last sale reporting, when the volume reaches appropriate levels that the Commission shall specify by rule or order.

  3. Exemptive authority

    The Commission may, by rule or order, grant such exemptions, in whole or in part, conditionally or unconditionally, to any penny stock or class of penny stocks from the requirements of subsection (b) of this section as the Commission determines to be consistent with the public interest, the protection of investors, and the maintenance of fair and orderly markets.

  4. Commission reporting requirements

    The Commission shall, in each of the first 5 annual reports (under section 23(b)(1)) submitted more than 12 months after October 15, 1990, include a description of the status of the penny stock automated quotation system or systems required by subsection (b) of this section. Such description shall include--

    1. a review of the development, implementation, and progress of the project, including achievement of significant milestones and current project schedule; and

    2. a review of the activities of registered securities associations and national securities exchanges in the development of the system.

Legislative History

June 6, 1934, c. 404, Title I, § 17B, as added Oct. 15, 1990, Pub.L. 101- 429, Title V, § 506, 104 Stat. 955.

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