The securities being sold to you have not been approved or disapproved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Moreover, the Securities and Exchange Commission has not passed upon the fairness or the merits of this transaction nor upon the accuracy or adequacy of the information contained in any prospectus or any other information provided by an issuer or a broker or dealer.
Generally, penny stock is a security that:
– Is priced under five dollars;
– Is not traded on a national stock exchange or on NASDAQ (the NASD’s automated quotation system for actively traded stocks);
– May be listed in the “pink sheets” or the FINRA OTC Bulletin Board;
– Is issued by a company that has less than $5 million in net tangible assets and has been in business less than three years, by a company that has under $2 million in net tangible assets and has been in business for at least three years, or by a company that has revenues of $6 million for 3 years.
Use Caution When Investing in Penny Stocks:
1. Do not make a hurried investment decision. High-pressure sales techniques can be a warning sign of fraud. The salesperson is not an impartial advisor, but is paid for selling stock to you. The salesperson also does not have to watch your investment for you. Thus, you should think over the offer and seek outside advice. Check to see if the information given by the salesperson differs from other information you may have. Also, it is illegal for salespersons to promise that a stock will increase in value or is risk-free, or to guarantee against loss. If you think there is a problem, ask to speak with a compliance official at the firm, and, if necessary, any of the regulators referred to in this statement.
2. Study the company issuing the stock. Be wary of companies that have no operating history, few assets, or no defined business purpose. These may be sham or “shell” corporations. Read the prospectus for the company carefully before you invest. Some dealers fraudulently solicit investors’ money to buy stock in sham companies, artificially inflate the stock prices, then cash in their profits before public investors can sell their stock.
3. Understand the risky nature of these stocks. You should be aware that you may lose part or all of your investment. Because of large dealer spreads, you will not be able to sell the stock immediately back to the dealer at the same price it sold the stock to you. In some cases, the stock may fall quickly in value. New companies, whose stock is sold in an “initial public offering,” often are riskier investments. Try to find out if the shares the salesperson wants to sell you are part of such an offering. Your salesperson must give you a “prospectus” in an initial public offering, but the financial condition shown in the prospectus of new companies can change very quickly.
4. Know the brokerage firm and the salespeople with whom you are dealing. Because of the nature of the market for penny stock, you may have to rely solely on the original brokerage firm that sold you the stock for prices and to buy the stock back from you. Ask the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD) or your state securities regulator, which is a member of the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc. (NASAA), about the licensing and disciplinary record of the brokerage firm and the salesperson contacting you. The telephone numbers of the FINRAand NASAA are listed on the first page of this document.
5. Be cautious if your salesperson leaves the firm. If the salesperson who sold you the stock leaves his or her firm, the firm may reassign your account to a new salesperson. If you have problems, ask to speak to the firm’s branch office manager or a compliance officer. Although the departing salesperson may ask you to transfer your stock to his or her new firm, you do not have to do so. Get information on the new firm. Be wary of requests to sell your securities when the salesperson transfers to a new firm. Also, you have the right to get your stock certificate from your selling firm. You do not have to leave the certificate with that firm or any other firm.
Disclosures to you. Under penalty of federal law, your brokerage firm must tell you the following information at two different times-before you agree to buy or sell a penny stock, and after the trade, by written confirmation:
* The bid and offer price quotes for penny stock, and the number of shares to which the quoted prices apply. The bid and offer quotes are the wholesale prices at which dealers trade among themselves. These prices give you an idea of the market value of the stock. The dealer must tell you these price quotes if they appear on an automated quotation system approved by the SEC. If not, the dealer must use its own quotes or trade prices. You should calculate the spread, the difference between the bid and offer quotes, to help decide if buying the stock is a good investment.
A lack of quotes may mean that the market among dealers is not active. It thus may be difficult to resell the stock. You also should be aware that the actual price charged to you for the stock may differ from the price quoted to you for 100 shares. You should therefore determine, before you agree to a purchase, what the actual sales price (before the markup) will be for the exact number of shares you want to buy.
* The brokerage firm’s compensation for the trade. A markup is the amount a dealer adds to the wholesale offer price of the stock and a markdown is the amount it subtracts from the wholesale bid price of the stock as compensation. A markup/markdown usually serves the same role as a broker’s commission on a trade. Most of the firms in the penny stock market will be dealers, not brokers.
* The compensation received by the brokerage firm’s salesperson for the trade. The brokerage firm must disclose to you, as a total sum, the cash compensation of your salesperson for the trade that is known at the time of the trade. The firm must describe in the written confirmation the nature of any other compensation of your salesperson that is unknown at the time of the trade.
In addition to the items listed above, your brokerage firm must send to you:
* Monthly account statements. In general, your brokerage firm must send you a monthly statement that gives an estimate of the value of each penny stock in your account, if there is enough information to make an estimate. If the firm has not bought or sold any penny stocks for your account for six months, it can provide these statements every three months.
* A Written Statement of Your Financial Situation and Investment Goals. In general, unless you have had an account with your brokerage firm for more than one year, or you have previously bought three different penny stocks from that firm, your brokerage firm must send you a written statement for you to sign that accurately describes your financial situation, your investment experience, and your investment goals, and that contains a statement of why your firm decided that penny stocks are a suitable investment for you. The firm also must get your written consent to buy the penny stock.
Legal remedies. If penny stocks are sold to you in violation of your rights listed above, or other federal or state securities laws, you may be able to cancel your purchase and get your money back. If the stocks are sold in a fraudulent manner, you may be able to sue the persons and firms that caused the fraud for damages. If you have signed an arbitration agreement, however, you may have to pursue your claim through arbitration. You may wish to contact an attorney. The SEC is not authorized to represent individuals in private litigation.
However, to protect yourself and other investors, you should report any violations of your brokerage firm’s duties listed above and other securities laws to the SEC, the FINRA or your state securities administrator at the telephone numbers on the first page of this document. These bodies have the power to stop fraudulent and abusive activity of salespersons and firms engaged in the securities business. Or you can write to the SEC at 450 Fifth St., NW., Washington, DC 20549; the FINRAat 1735 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20006; or NASAA at 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW., Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001. NASAA will give you the telephone number of your state’s securities agency. If there is any disciplinary record of a person or a firm, the FINRA NASAA, or your state securities regulator will send you this information if you ask for it.
Risk of Lower Liquidity. Liquidity refers to the ability of market participants to buy and sell securities. Generally, the more orders that are available in a market, the greater the liquidity. Liquidity is important because with greater liquidity it is easier for investors to buy or sell securities, and as a result, investors are more likely to pay or receive a competitive price for securities purchased or sold. There may be lower liquidity in extended hours trading as compared to regular market hours. As a result, your order may only be partially executed, or not at all.
Risk of Higher Volatility. Volatility refers to the changes in price that securities undergo when trading. Generally, the higher the volatility of a security, the greater its price swings. There may be greater volatility in extended hours trading than in regular market hours. As a result, your order may only be partially executed, or not at all, or you may receive an inferior price in extended hours trading than you would during regular market hours.
Risk of Changing Prices. The prices of securities traded in extended hours trading may not reflect the prices either at the end of regular market hours, or upon the opening the next morning. As a result, you may receive an inferior price in extended hours trading than you would during regular market hours.
Risk of Unlinked Markets. Depending on the extended hours trading system or the time of day, the prices displayed on a particular extended hours trading system may not reflect the prices in other concurrently operating extended hours trading systems dealing in the same securities. Accordingly, you may receive an inferior price in one extended hours trading system than you would in another extended hours trading system.
Risk of News Announcements. Normally, issuers make news announcements that may affect the price of their securities after regular market hours. Similarly, important financial information is frequently announced outside of regular market hours. In extended hours trading, these announcements may occur during trading, and if combined with lower liquidity and higher volatility, may cause an exaggerated and unsustainable effect on the price of a security.
Risk of Wider Spreads. The spread refers to the difference in price between what you can buy a security for and what you can sell it for. Lower liquidity and higher volatility in extended hours trading may result in wider than normal spreads for a particular security