Should analysts and bloggers be required to disclose their stock holdings?

Posted on February 1, 2016


An interesting discussion came up that is just now beginning to gain some traction in the social media world.

It started as a comment exchange on my post regarding PayStream and Coupa, in which Kelly Barner talked about the best source of information when selecting a possible service provider.

Besides a direct one-to-one dialogue between end user clients, she had also suggested that associations could evolve into a potential information resource.

I had indicated that upon first glance this made a good deal of sense, however I cautioned that we should not forget the #CodeGate scandal, and all that entailed.

I then wrote the following:

In situations where service providers have a significant stake in an association or an association-related service, how likely are you to get a truly unbiased and transparent assessment?

It is no different than for example someone from an analyst firm or even a blogger, owning shares in a company they are covering.

With the last statement, a light bulb went off for both of us, leading to my Tweeting the question; should industry analysts or bloggers own stocks in the service providers they cover?

This of course leads to another question – which is the title of this post – should analysts and bloggers be required to disclose their stock holdings?

If you think about it, owning stock in a company you cover as @bobmango1 put it, creates the potential for serious conflict.

stock conflict Mango

Just to get it on the record, I have never owned stock in any – and I mean any – of the companies that I have covered in this blog. Although I might have at one point had IBM stock 17 years ago. Of course having 4 young children, RRSPs, education funds and everything “safe” is usually the order of the day. I am after all, the keeper of their inheritance.

All kidding aside i.e. my childrens’ inheritance, Mr. Mango’s observation regarding the potential impact of a “subconscious favorable post,” begs the question; do we need greater transparency in our industry?

Should analysts and bloggers be required to disclose their personal holdings if said holdings pose a potential conflict of interest or, is this an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

Share your thoughts, as I am sure that this will be a very interesting discussion.


Posted in: Commentary