A "market maker" is a registered broker-dealer that is approved by FINRA to “make a market in” publicly-traded stocks. A market maker stands ready to buy and sell particular stocks on a regular and continuous basis at publicly-quoted prices. A market maker holds securities in its own account which is referred to as that firm’s inventory. You'll most often hear about market makers in the context of the Nasdaq or other "over the counter" (OTC) markets.
The primary role of a market maker is to provide sufficient liquidity to reduce volatility in prices and maintain a 'fair and orderly market' for stocks. For example, a market maker may buy a stock when there are few or no other bidders in the market while other investors are selling that stock. Market makers can instill greater investor confidence in the financial markets and encourage these investors to send more orders to these trading centers. This can create a virtuous cycle where these additional orders result in greater depth and liquidity which, in turn, attract even more investors and orders. Market makers play a critical role in building and maintaining efficient and liquid financial markets.
FINRA assigns market makers a four-character alpha code known as a market participant identifier (MPID) so that a firm’s trades can be reported. Ascendiant’s MPID is “ASCM”.
For our public company clients conducting At-the-Market (ATM) offerings, Ascendiant executes trades on behalf of those clients. Our clients determine the amount of stock they wish to sell under the ATM offerings based on stock prices they set at their sole discretion. For public company clients that are repurchasing their stock in the market, Ascendiant executes trades through buyback programs. We also provide trading services for institutional accounts, in which case, Ascendiant buys and sells stock based on client orders.