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Unlisted Security


Unlisted Security refers to a financial instrument, like stocks or bonds, that isn’t traded on a formal exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ. These securities might be traded over-the-counter (OTC) or through a private transaction. They are typically less liquid and tend to carry higher risk due to less regulatory oversight.


The phonetics of the keyword: Unlisted Security is /ʌnˈlɪstɪd sɪˈkjʊrɪti/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Unlisted securities are not listed on any stock exchange: These are not listed on any official stock exchange, meaning that transactions involving these securities are handled privately.
  2. They may have lower liquidity: Since transactions for unlisted securities don’t occur on a public exchange, it may be more challenging to find buyers or sellers. This could potentially result in decreased liquidity, making the securities more difficult to sell quickly.
  3. They don’t have to fulfill the same reporting requirements: Unlike listed securities, unlisted securities aren’t required to meet the same stringent reporting and regulatory standards. However, this lack of public information could pose extra risk for investors.


Unlisted Security is an important term in the business/finance sector because it directly relates to the flexibility of trading and access to capital for corporations. Essentially, an unlisted security refers to any financial instrument such as a stock, bond, or derivative that is not traded on a formal, organized exchange like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or NASDAQ. Instead, these securities are traded over-the-counter (OTC). While they may present more risk due to less regulatory oversight, unlisted securities can offer potential for high returns and serve as a vital source of capital for small or emerging companies that may not meet the listing requirements of traditional exchanges. They also offer an opportunity for private investors to invest in such companies before they are recognized by larger markets. Consequently, their economic significance lies in their impact on investment strategies, capital formation, and market dynamics.


Unlisted Security is mainly used to provide a platform for smaller or less popular companies to raise capital. As these companies might not meet the stringent listing requirements of established stock exchanges, they use unlisted securities as a means to gain access to the resources of the general investing public. This provides these companies with the necessary funding to expand their operations and increase their profitability without having to resort to more traditional methods of fundraising, such as applying for a bank loan or issuing bonds. The purpose of unlisted security extends towards investors as well. It provides investors an opportunity to invest in potentially promising companies at an early stage, thereby reaping benefits if these companies perform well in the future. It also allows for a more diverse portfolio by providing investment options that are not available in the traditional market. However, it is important to note that unlisted securities carry a higher level of risk due to their lack of public information and higher volatility compared to their listed counterparts.


Unlisted Security refers to a financial instrument such as stock, bonds, or derivatives that are not traded on a formal exchange. They can be traded on the Over-The-Counter (OTC) platform. Let’s look at three real-world examples:1. Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) Class C Shares: Before 2014, Google (now under Alphabet Inc.) only had one class of shares, Class A, which were listed on the NASDAQ. However, in 2014, they issued a new Class C shares which were initially unlisted. These shares were later listed on the exchange but they serve as a real-world example of an unlisted security at the point in time.2. Unlisted Green Bonds: Bonds issued by various companies focussed on environmental sustainability are often not listed on traditional exchanges. These could range from corporations devoted to renewable energy to startups developing eco-friendly technologies. These unlisted green bonds can be traded in the Over-The-Counter (OTC) market.3. Private Company Shares: Companies that are not publicly traded will have unlisted securities. For example, SpaceX is a private company, and thus its shares are considered to be unlisted securities. The same would be true for other well-known private companies, such as Airbnb and Uber before they issued their initial public offerings (IPOs).

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Unlisted Security?

An unlisted security is a financial instrument, such as stocks, bonds, or derivatives, that is not traded on a formal exchange because it does not meet the listing requirements. These are typically traded through the over-the-counter (OTC) market.

How are Unlisted Securities different from Listed Securities?

Listed securities are traded on formal exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ. Unlisted securities, on the other hand, do not meet the listing requirements and are traded over-the-counter.

Why would a company choose to have Unlisted Securities?

Companies may choose to have unlisted securities to avoid the regulatory restrictions and costs associated with being listed on a formal exchange. It is also a way for smaller or newer companies to raise capital without going through the stringent process of listing.

Can anyone buy Unlisted Securities?

While anyone can technically buy unlisted securities, they generally require a greater level of caution due to less regulatory oversight and less liquidity compared to listed securities. It’s advised that only experienced investors, who are comfortable with high risk, acquire them.

How can one buy or sell Unlisted Securities?

Unlisted securities are typically bought and sold over-the-counter (OTC). This means transactions take place directly between two parties, without the supervision of an exchange.

Are Unlisted Securities riskier than Listed Securities?

Unlisted securities can be riskier due to the lack of transparency and lesser liquidity. They are not subject to the same regulations as listed securities, potentially making them a more volatile investment.

Where can I find information about Unlisted Securities?

Unlisted securities often lack the level of public information available to listed securities. However, you can generally find some information from OTC marketplaces, financial news platforms, or directly from the issuing company itself.

Related Finance Terms

  • Over-the-Counter (OTC) Market: The marketplace outside a regulated exchange where unlisted securities are traded.
  • Private Companies: These organizations typically issue unlisted securities, as they are not listed on a public exchange.
  • Direct Public Offering (DPO): A term related to unlisted securities as companies use DPOs to become public companies without their securities becoming listed.
  • Pink Sheets: A daily publication compiled by the National Quotation Bureau with bid and ask prices of unlisted securities.
  • Securities Exchange Commission (SEC): The governmental body that regulates the trading of securities, including those unlisted.

Sources for More Information

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