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Winnig Paper of the IV Edition of the
“Jaime Fernández de Araoz on Corporate Finance” Award

Summary of the winning paper of the IV “Jaime Fernández de Araoz on Corporate Finance”Award

The authors propose an equilibrium occupational choice model, where agents can choose to work in the real sector or to become informed dealers in financial markets. Agents incur costs to become informed dealers and develop skills for valuing assets up for trade. The financial sector comprises a transparent competitive exchange, where uninformed agents trade and an opaque over-the-counter (OTC) market, where informed dealers offer attractive terms for the most valuable assets entrepreneurs put up for sale. Thanks to their information advantage and valuation skills, dealers are able to provide incentives to entrepreneurs to originate good assets. However, the opaqueness of the OTC market allows dealers to extract informational rents from entrepreneurs. Trade in the OTC market imposes a negative externality on the organized exchange, where only the less valuable assets end up for trade. We show that in equilibrium the dealers’ informational rents in the OTC market are too large and attract too much talent to the financial industry.

Over-the-counter (OTC) or off-exchange trading is to trade financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, commodities or derivatives directly between two parties. It is contrasted with exchange trading, which occurs via facilities constructed for the purpose of trading (i.e., exchanges), such as futures exchanges or stock exchanges.

In the U.S., over-the-counter trading in stock is carried out by market makers that make markets in OTCBB and Pink Sheets securities using inter-dealer quotation services such as Pink Quote (operated by Pink OTC Markets) and the OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB). OTC stocks are not usually listed nor traded on any stock exchanges, though exchange listed stocks can be traded OTC on the third market. Although stocks quoted on the OTCBB must comply with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting requirements, other OTC stocks, such as those categorized as Pink Sheets securities, have no reporting requirements, while those stocks categorized as OTCQX have met alternative disclosure guidelines through PINK OTC Markets.

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