The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, issued today a Public Statement on investment recommendations made on social media. ESMA makes clear what investment recommendations are, how to post them on social media platforms and what the consequences of possible breaches of the EU Market Abuse Regulation can be.
Investor protection is at the core of ESMA’s objectives together with financial stability and ensuring stable and orderly markets. Following a rise in investment recommendations made on social media and a concern that retail investors are not aware of the risks associated with following such recommendations, ESMA considers that investment recommendations must be produced and disseminated in an objective and transparent way so that investors, before making any investment decision, can distinguish facts from opinions. It is also crucial that investors are able to easily identify the source of information and any conflicts of interest of those making the recommendations.
Anneli Tuominen, Interim Chair said:
“In times where social media platforms are a key source of information for retail investors, I believe it is important that they should be aware of the risks associated with relying on recommendations disseminated on social media when making investment decisions.”
“The aim of the Statement is also to remind those who recommend investments on social media and other similar platforms of the applicable rules and what happens when those are not respected.”
If the rules relating to investment recommendations are not adhered to, there can be fines or further supervisory actions, which in case of dissemination of false or misleading information may potentially include the referral to Public Prosecutors for market manipulation.