Is it illegal to provide stock tips on online forums, if you are also investing or have invested in the same stocks?

  • Are "you" disclosing that you're invested in the stock, or keeping it quiet?
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 20:30
  • I would like to know the legality in both the cases when you disclose and when you don't and what could potentially happen.
    – Pavan
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 20:34
  • Also be aware that countries have different definitions on financial advice. Some countries are more regulated than others. For example, in Australia, you must be have an Australian Financial Services Licence to provide advice. The word "advice" is very broad in Australia. It can even extend to classes of securities, not just individual stocks. Discussion on forums is allowed by professionals (i.e. those whose business is related to trading, under certain conditions) and non-professionals (individual traders/investors). Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 4:05

1 Answer 1


If you disclose your position (that is, not just that you have interest in the company) there should be no problem. To avoid legal complications you should also state where your authority is from. So if you have, for example, a CFA designation, that might be pertinent to those reading your post. If you have no experience, certifications, or general clout then it would be advisable to disclose this. Here's an example if you have a long position on Tesla and have no certifications:

Pavan is currently long on Tesla and is providing advice based on personal research and is not affiliated with any financial institution or professional designation.

If you do not want to disclose your position or your accumen, you could definitely be in legally murky waters. Because it is stocks, there is inherent risk involved, but if you led someone to believe that you had some qualifications or no personal interest in the company that could be considered "misleading conduct" and depending on the damage/your writing, you could be liable. Would not advise going this route. Glen Pierce in the comments of this answer also makes a valid point:

...don't make misleading statements about the assets themselves (ie: don't claim the company is in different financial circumstances than it really is)


Disclosing everything = No problem

Not disclosing everything = Big problem

Hopefully this helps!

  • Also, don't make false or misleading statements. Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 1:48
  • That's literally what I said. Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 1:57
  • 1
    Sorry, I should have been more clear. Yes, you did say to avoid making misleading statements about one's qualifications and holdings, but also, and this probably seems like a given, but don't make misleading statements about the assets themselves (ie: don't claim the company is in different financial circumstances than it really is). Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 2:00
  • 1
    Yes, you're right I should have included that! Edited to give you credit and reflect your contribution. Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 2:01

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