News Release

OTC Bulletin Board Trading Symbols Appended for Delinquent Filers

Washington, D.C.—The National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD®), today announced that, effective immediately, for all securities of foreign issuers quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board® (OTCBB), and for securities of domestic issuers first quoted on the OTCBB since January 5, 1999, the NASD will append to a security’s symbol a fifth character identifier "E" when the company is believed to be delinquent in filing a required report with its designated reporting agency. This additional character will assist market participants in recognizing which issues are not currently in compliance.

When an "E" is appended to a symbol, there will be a 30-calendar-day grace period for companies that file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a 60-calendar-day grace period for issuers that make periodic filings with other regulatory agencies, such as those for banks, thrifts, and insurance companies. Firms will continue to be quoted on the OTCBB during the grace period. Upon expiration of the grace period, if the issuer has not satisfied its Eligibility Requirements, the security will be removed from the OTC Bulletin Board.

On January 4, 1999, the SEC approved amendments to NASD Rules 6530 and 6540 to limit quotations on the OTCBB to the securities of companies that report their current financial information to the SEC, banking, or insurance regulators. Domestic issuers that began quoting on the OTCBB after January 4, 1999, are subject to the Eligibility Rule requirements. Domestic issuers which began quotation on the OTCBB prior to January 4, 1999, will phased into the Eligibility Rule requirements in alphabetical increments beginning in July 1999. By June 2000, the Eligibility Rule will apply to all OTCBB issuers. Foreign issuers have been subject to SEC reporting requirements since April 1, 1998.

A list of OTCBB securities that are subject to the Eligibility Requirements, and that the NASD believes are not eligible securities is available on

"Today is the beginning of a process in which the symbols of OTC Bulletin Board companies that are delinquent in their financial filings will be identified for the investing public," said Richard G. Ketchum, President of the NASD. "Information contained in period financial filings are essential for investors to make sound investment decisions. And that is why it is critical to know when a company is delinquent in those filings."

The OTC Bulletin Board is a quotation service that displays real-time quotes, last-sale prices, and volume information in domestic and certain foreign securities. Eligible securities include national, regional, and foreign equity issues, and warrants, units, and American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) not listed on any other U.S. national securities market or exchange. Although the OTCBB is operated by the NASD, it is unlike The Nasdaq Stock Market® or other listed markets where individual companies apply for listing and must meet and maintain strict listing standards; instead, individual brokerage firms, or Market Makers initiate quotations for specific securities on the OTC Bulletin Board. Currently, approximately 6,500 securities are quoted on the OTCBB.

For more information about the OTC Bulletin Board, please visit