Global and OTC Markets are Being Neglected by Retail Trade Platforms

There are OTC stocks you can’t buy on Robinhood. It’s one of my pet peeves about the platform. I need to switch over to eTrade to buy certain penny stocks, which I am not a big fan of. I suppose I could use Schwab or TD Ameritrade instead, but I can’t be an accessory to custodial theft from financial advisors. Yes, I said it. Run with it if you like.

Global and OTC markets are being neglected. News headlines are dominated by major political and social changes around the world, but financial publications only write about China. Are there potential investments in Ukraine? Does the UAE “weekend switch” make them more attractive to international investors? Does anyone know where Côte d’Ivoire is?

None of this surprises me. US investors spent four years listening to nationalist propaganda and a year in isolation during the pandemic. We’ve been programmed to focus on American investments. The rest of the world is a scary place, so why go there? Get a clue, people. Travel bans don’t apply to online trading. It’s time to diversify your portfolio.

Ukraine is the Breadbasket of Eastern Europe

National news sites would have you believe that the Russian aggression towards the Ukraine is all about NATO expansion. I’m not buying it. Ukraine is the breadbasket of eastern Europe. Their wheat exports are up 16% as of November 2021 and prices rose 4% last month over a two-week period. That conflict isn’t about politics. It’s about food.

Investing in Ukrainian wheat is simple if you’re a broker. Retail investors don’t have exposure to it on Robinhood or eTrade, so don’t bother trying. I did find one decent investment on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Astarta Holdings (AST:WSE), a Ukrainian agriculture and industrial holding company, is up 52.80% YTD. I had to jump through a few hoops, but I bought it.

The problem is simple. Most retail investors don’t want to do the level of work involved to find, analyze, and then figure out how to buy foreign companies like Astarta. I’m as guilty as everyone else. Under normal circumstances, I’d simply recommend the Teucrium Wheat Fund (WEAT). It’s on the NYSE and it’s up 25% this year. That’s a big drop from 52.80%.

Where exactly is Côte d’Ivoire?

The country formerly known as Ivory Coast is one of the fastest growing economies in West Africa, yet most US investors have never heard of it. The country has rich natural resources and a fertile agricultural community. They’re the largest exporter of cocoa in the world. Nestle (NSRGY:OTC) has a presence in Côte d’Ivoire. They’re up 10.88% this year.

Côte d’Ivoire is an emerging market. So is Ukraine. Unfortunately, retail investors using independent trading platforms aren’t given easy access to investments in those countries. For the market to be truly democratized, that needs to change. It’s time for America to step back onto the world stage again. It’s necessary for global economic recovery.

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About the Author

Global and OTC Markets are Being Neglected by Retail Trade Platforms

Kevin Flynn

A former financial professional and founder of AdvisorScale Financial Writing, Kevin lives in Leominster, Massachusetts with his wife Evelyn, two cats, and nine wonderful grandchildren.