Can I blog about stocks without being a certified financial consultant?
I blog about stocks and companies, but I am not a qualified/certified individual. Could this be considered illegal? Could I be sued by the companies I give stock advice about?
Thanks for the question. You can blog about stocks and companies without holding any securities licenses. Even if you will be compensated, The Investment Advisors Act of 1940 has registration exclusions that may allow individuals to publish newsletters without registration. That said, you should thoroughly research the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 if you are going to start an investment newsletter from which you would earn money. You could also get a lot of free help from your state's securities division. Additionally, if you still have questions or concerns, you could contact a securities lawyer.
As far as if you can be sued by the companies, that is a question for a lawyer. Congratulations on your blog and good luck!
Generally speaking, no, although you are entitled to have an investment opinion and share that opinion with others to an extent. Take for example StockTwits.com; most of the users are unlicensed investors and share ideas with each other daily through an online news feed similar to Twitter. The sharing of stocks may be considered illegal by the sharing of non-public material information about publicly traded securities or when you receive compensation from investment advice related to your blog. You could be sued or ordered a cease and desist if you are misleading people on your blog. I do not provide legal counsel, however, I believe this guidance will help point you in the right direction.