A listed security is a financial instrument that is traded through an exchange, such as the NYSE or Nasdaq. When a private company decides to go public and issue shares, it will need to choose an exchange on which to be listed. To do so, it must be able to meet that exchange’s listing requirements and pay both the exchange’s entry and yearly listing fees. Listing requirements vary by exchange and include minimum stockholder’s equity, a minimum share price and a minimum number of shareholders. Exchanges have listing requirements to ensure that only high quality securities are traded on them and to uphold the exchange’s reputation among investors.
Listing on the Nasdaq is considerably less expensive than listing on the NYSE, so newer companies often opt for the Nasdaq if they meet its requirements. The exchange a company chooses to be listed on can affect how investors perceive the stock. Some companies choose to cross-list their securities on more than one exchange. If a stock fails to comply with the exchange’s listing requirements, it will be delisted. Delisted securities that can no longer be traded on an exchange will sometimes be traded over the counter. The over-the-counter market does not have listing requirements.