Disclosure for market commentary

3 replies [Last post]
bluestar's picture
Joined: 2004-12-14

If I'm to write a monthly financial column for a publication, is there any authoritative guideline on what and how I have to disclose my broker/dealer affiliation or practice status?
For example, I see that WSJ puts at the end of one of their "Opinions" articles a disclosure saying "Mr. Smith is managing principal of the private investment firm Quadrangle Group LLC."  Is this based on some SEC rule or directive? 
Any info on this general subject is appreciated.

anonymous's picture
Joined: 2005-09-29

Talk to your B/D.  I do a fair amount of writing and everything must be approved in advance and it all must have appropriate disclosure. 

Anonymous's picture

First and foremost, you must disclose the proposed column offer to your firm and get their express permission to author articles.  You will likely be required to submit the articles for pre-publication approval by your firm, which can get tricky if the publication is on a tight deadline and your firm takes its time.  Similarly, you should always disclose any conflicts you have if and when you mention a specific security -- note if your firm makes a market, did investment banking, you own, etc.  This is a very tricky area that can bring a ton of liability to you and your firm if not handled properly.

bluestar's picture
Joined: 2004-12-14

My firm is warm to the idea, and the review and approval legistics has been worked out.  Monthly publication schedule gives adequate time.
My main concern is with the publisher.  They obviously want to minimize the legal jumble, so we are trying to work out the best disclosure format.  I see at least a few formats of disclosure:
1. As mentioned above, WSJ has a format that discloses the affiliation of the author.
2. Nightly Business News uses another format where the host asks guest speakers whether they own the securities mentioned and whether their clients own the securities.
3. A generic and veiled disclosure of "The auther may or may not own the securities mentioned within this article before, currently, and in the future."
4. The discliamer version such as "This article does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell the securities mentioned within."
5. There are probably other formats that I have not seen.
So I'm wondering, is there any SEC directive or NYSE rule or whatever guideline from which all the firms derive their disclosures?  Or is it just up to each firm to find whatever it's comfortable with?

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