The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published guidelines for posting of investment recommendations on social media in order to raise awareness of the requirements established by the Market Abuse Regulation ("MAR"). The reason is that social media are increasingly being used to disseminate and share investment recommendations and general information about financial markets.

The guidelines emphasize that the dissemination or sharing of investment recommendations on social media is subject to the rules of the MAR and the Delegated Regulation 2016/958 supplementing the MAR ("Regulation 2016/958") concerning investment recommendations and the relevant requirements.

What is an investment recommendation?

"Investment recommendations" is defined broadly in the MAR as "information recommending or suggesting an investment strategy, explicitly or implicitly, concerning one or several financial instruments or the issuers, including any opinion as to the present or future value or price of such instruments, intended for distribution channels or for the public."

This means that public communications containing recommendations about, for example, buying or selling specific shares or about how to compose an investment portfolio may constitute investment recommendations. The same applies to public communications about the present or future price of shares. However, it will always be subject to a case-by-case assessment.

Who are the guidelines aimed at?

The guidelines emphasise that the rules apply to any person - legal or natural - sharing investment recommendations. However, the investment recommendation requirements are divided into general requirements applying to everyone and additional requirements applying only to a limited group of persons consisting of (i) independent analysts, (ii) investment firms, (iii) credit institutions, (iv) persons whose main business is to produce investment recommendations, and (v) experts (persons repeatedly sharing their own investments and investment decisions on social media and presenting themselves as having financial expertise or experience, either as a sideline job or as a hobby).

What are the investment recommendation requirements?

All investment recommendations, regardless of who shares them, must comply with the general requirements:

  • identification of the person who has produced the investment recommendation, including name and job title of all the natural persons involved in the production of the recommendation;
  • date and time of the recommendation;
  • an objective presentation of the investment recommendation, including clearly distinguishing facts from interpretations, estimates, opinions and other types of non-factual information;
  • ensuring that all sources of information are reliable and, where in doubt, a clear indication of that;
  • disclosure of any conflicts of interest in a clear and noticeable manner.

Independent analysts, investment firms, credit institutions, persons whose main business is to prepare investment recommendations, and experts must also disclose, among other things:

  • the basis of valuation, including methodology and the underlying assumptions used in the recommendation;
  • the length of time of the investment and an appropriate risk warning;
  • the planned frequency of updates to the recommendation;
  • if the recommendation has been disclosed to and possibly amended after having been disclosed to the issuer of the financial instrument;
  • if they hold a net long or short position above 0.5% of the total issued share capital of the issuer to which the recommendation relates.

Above list is not exhaustive, and more requirements follow from Regulation 2016/958.

Other requirements

In addition, persons disseminating investment recommendations should be aware that the sharing of such information may also potentially violate the prohibition of market manipulation and unauthorised disclosure of inside information.


Any failure to comply with the disclosure obligations is punishable by a fine.

Read the new guidelines: Requirements when posting investments recommendations on social media (

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.