Social media and AIM Rules on disclosure

Companies may have a perception that information disclosed via social media channels such as Twitter is less heavily regulated than information disclosed via formal channels.  This is not the case.  AIM Regulation has issued a reminder to AIM companies that social media and other forms of electronic communication are subject to the same AIM rules regarding disclosure of regulatory information as would apply to more formal communications. 

Key points that AIM companies should note from the latest issue of Inside Aim are:

  •  Under the AIM Rules, information must be notified via a Regulatory Information Service (RIS) no later than it is disclosed elsewhere.  Disclosure via one or more social media channels that is not simultaneously made via RIS will not meet the regulatory disclosure requirements.
  • The consequences of getting disclosure wrong may be the suspension of an AIM company’s securities from trading pending a compliant notification.  This is to protect the integrity of the market.  In addition, any breach of the AIM Rules may lead to an investigation and disciplinary action.
  • AIM companies should also bear in mind their separate obligations under MAR which is under the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority.  Where confidential information is leaked or premature or selective disclosure made, there may be market abuse implications beyond the reach of the AIM Rules.
  • AIM companies should have a clear policy on the use of social media and ensure it works in practice and is understood by all relevant individuals.  It should also have clear protocols to ensure that its nominated adviser is aware and can advise prior to the release of information via social media. 

AIM companies are encouraged to have an ongoing dialogue with their nominated advisers as to how to monitor social media posts and other commentary on the company’s prospects (for example, via relevant internet discussion forums) in order to identify when a false market might be developing in the company’s securities and when sensitive information might have been leaked.

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