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Web policy paper released

A PROPOSED policy paper for the operation of Internet discussion sites, including web-based bulletin boards, has been released by the Australian Securities and Invest-ments Commission for public comment.

The guidelines propose conditions under which people can

operate an IDS without having to obtain an ASIC licence.

The proposed guidelines apply to any IDS that carries information, opinions or advice about securities which can be viewed by anyone accessing the site.

The material displayed on an IDS may range from stock tips, information about listed companies and price movements of

certain stock to personal opinions about certain stock.

As defined in the Corporations Law, the operation of such an IDS may constitute an investment advice business.

Legislatively, all investment advice businesses are generally required to operate under an ASIC licence.

An ASIC spokesman said the Commission was aware that

information on an IDS could reach vast audiences with relative ease, low cost and speed.

“ASIC’S proposed guidelines attempt to strike a balance between the need to foster investors’ access to an inexpensive and easy method of self-education using the Internet, and the need to ensure customer protection and market integrity are not put at risk by increased opportunity for market manipulation and unconscionable conduct using an IDS,” he said.

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