Penny stocks may trade infrequently, which means that it may be difficult to sell penny stock shares once you own them. Moreover, because it may be difficult to find quotations for certain penny stocks, they may be difficult, or even impossible, to accurately price. For these, and other reasons, penny stocks are generally considered speculative investments. Consequently, investors in penny stocks should be prepared for the possibility that they may lose their whole investment (or an amount in excess of their investment if they purchased penny stocks on margin).Because of the speculative nature of penny stocks, Congress prohibited broker-dealers from effecting transactions in penny stocks unless they comply with the requirements of Section 15(h) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act") and the rules thereunder. These SEC rules provide, among other things, that a broker-dealer must (1)approve the customer for the specific penny stock transaction and receive from the customer a written agreement to the transaction; (2) furnish the customer a disclosure document describing the risks of investing in penny stocks; (3) disclose to the customer the current market quotation, if any, for the penny stock; and (4) disclose to the customer the amount of compensation the firm and its broker will receive for the trade. In addition, after executing the sale, a broker-dealer must send to its customer monthly account statements showing the market value of each penny stock held in the customer's account.For more information, read the penny stock rules section of our Broker-Dealer Registration Guide. You may also want to review the penny stock rules (Exchange Act Section 15(h) and Exchange Act Rules 3a51-1 and 15g-1 through 15g-100).Before you consider investing in the stock of any small company, be sure to read our brochure, Microcap Stock: A Guide for Investors.
US Penny Stock Rule
In the case of many penny stocks, low market price inevitably leads to low market capitalization. Such stocks can be highly volatile and subject to manipulation by stock promoters and pump and dump schemes. Such stocks present a high risk for investors, who are often lured by the hope of large and quick profits. Penny stocks in the US are often traded over-the-counter on the OTC Bulletin Board, or Pink Sheets.Another problem with the penny stock market is that it has little liquidity, so holders of shares in penny stock companies often find it difficult for them to cash out of positions.In the United States, the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have specific rules to define and regulate the sale of penny stocks.