AIM Regulation has published an Inside AIM update on how social media (such as “twitter”, Facebook and the company’s website) interacts with the disclosure obligations under the AIM Rules. It has also clarified that these forms of communication are subject to the same rules regarding disclosure of regulatory information.
In addition, if disclosure by social media leads to a breach of AIM Rules 10 or 11, AIM Regulation will investigate and take appropriate disciplinary action. AIM companies also need to be mindful of their obligations under the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) and note that any premature or selective disclosure by social media may give rise to breaches of MAR.
AIM companies are required to have in place sufficient procedures, resources and controls to enable them to comply with the AIM rules. Such systems, procedures and resources need to take into account (amongst other things) the use of social media. Companies should have clear communication policies which address the following questions (by way of example):
- Does the AIM company have a clear policy on the use of social media as part of its existing communications policy?
- How effective is that policy? Is it read and understood by all relevant persons?
- How regularly is the policy reviewed? How does the AIM company identify and ensure the policy is kept up to date?
- If the AIM company engages a third party to disseminate regulatory information via social media, how does it ensure the third party will not compromise compliance with the AIM Rules and MAR?
- What are the AIM company’s protocols in talking to its nominated adviser in advance of information being released via social media?
It may feel like a lighter-touch environment, but social media is subject to the same regulatory scrutiny as more formal announcements and AIM companies would do well to keep that in mind.