Over-the-counter (finance) Definition
Over-the-counter (OTC) trading is to trade financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, or derivatives directly between two parties. It is the opposite of exchange trading which occurs on futures exchanges or stock exchanges.
An over-the-counter contract is a bi-lateral contract in which two parties agree on how a particular trade or agreement is to be settled in the future. For derivatives, these agreements are usually governed by an International Swaps and Derivatives Association agreement.
An over-the-counter market is a financial market where products are traded over-the-counter.
OTC Bulletin Board
In the U.S., over-the-counter trading in stocks is carried out on the OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB). The OTCBB is a regulated quotation service that displays real-time quotes, last-sale prices, and volume information for various types of equity securities. The OTCBB was founded in 1990 and currently provides access to more than 3300 securities with over 230 market makers. It is not regulated as a stock exchange.