Fool Disclosure Policy
Here at The Motley Fool, when it comes to matters of money, we believe in transparency and accountability. Day in and day out, we dedicate ourselves to delivering responsible investing ideas and sound financial education. That's why, when it comes to talking about stocks, we think it's important that you know exactly where we're coming from. With this in mind, we have developed a company-wide disclosure policy to guide our business and communications. We call it Fool Disclosure. We invite you to take some time to read through it, and hope it helps inform your experience here in Fooldom.
Investors Communicating With Investors
The Motley Fool is a company that represents investors teaching and learning from other investors. Many financial publications do not permit their writers and editors to own stocks. The Motley Fool not only permits, but also encourages its staff to invest in common stock. Why? Two reasons.
First, we strongly believe the most effective way to create wealth is through the long-term ownership of stocks. The stock market has compounded 10% average annual returns over the last century. We believe in using the stock market as a savings bank, and we strongly encourage treating money management as a lifelong endeavor. Therefore, we think it'd be downright mean of us to close that avenue of investment to our employees.
Second, and more important, we don't consider our employees to be journalists, but rather communicators and teachers of financial matters. It's a subtle but critical difference that affects our entire service -- from our online site at Fool.com, to our investment books, to our nationally syndicated newspaper column, to our newsletters and portfolio services. As a company, we utilize every available medium to teach people of all ages, all income levels, all backgrounds, and all genetic codes about money and its applications in modern life. Therefore, we believe our staff's involvement in managing their own money is critical to their learning more about the subject and their succeeding in their own lives. And who better to write about investing than those who do it themselves?
The Motley Fool writes about stocks in both free and paid content. We make stock recommendations in our various premium newsletter services and actually hold some of these shares in our portfolio services. To be fair to the newsletter subscribers, we do not disclose in our free content any stock recommendation made as part of our premium services for at least 30 days from its recommendation date. Though we may cover a recommended stock in our free content during the initial 30-day period -- in the event of relevant news, for instance -- we will not disclose that it is a premium-service recommendation out of respect for our subscribers. After 30 days, we will disclose our recommendation or ownership until we cease to recommend the stock, or we sell our entire position. Of course, in both free and paid content we will continue to disclose whether the author has an interest in the stocks mentioned.
Internally, the Fool has always strived to operate with the highest levels of integrity and transparency. As such, here are the key components of The Motley Fool's disclosure policy:
- When a writer writes about a stock that he or she has a position or beneficial interest in, that fact is disclosed at the end of the article.
- All Fool employees and contractors -- that's anyone with a TMF prefix on their screen names -- are required to publicly disclose their current individual positions on their personal profile pages on the Fool.com website. (We do not disclose the individual stocks that might be in a Fool's mutual funds.)
- An affiliate of The Motley Fool provides investment products that may hold securities mentioned in our publications. Editorial personnel have no nonpublic knowledge of the affiliate's holdings, and the affiliate's personnel have no knowledge of any editorial content before it is published.
In addition to the above disclosure requirements, Fool employees work under additional trading restrictions and guidelines. These restrictions require that they:
- Must hold any stock they own for at least 14 days. (No day trading allowed -- as if we'd want to!)
- Cannot write about a stock in the period of 2 market business days before to 2 market business days after purchasing or selling the stock.
- Must notify our compliance department every time they buy or sell a stock, regardless of whether they have written about it.
Investors in The Motley Fool
- BIA Digital Partners (Chantilly, VA)
- Mayfield Fund (Menlo Park, CA)
- Patriot Capital (Baltimore, MD)
- Maveron (Seattle, WA)
The Fool's founders and some family members have also invested in the company, and full-time employees receive stock options and/or stock in the company.
Business and Technology Partners
We have business relationships with an ever-changing assortment of companies, including technology vendors, leasing companies, data providers, banks, distribution channels, advertisers, landlords, accountants, and the restaurants up the street from Fool HQ. Many of these companies are public companies operating in industries that we follow. There may be instances in which one of our newsletters recommends a company with whom we have a business relationship, or we may write an article about such a company on Fool.com. These occurrences are unintentional and coincidental, as the business end of The Motley Fool has no input or influence on the editorial side of things.
It would take too much space to list all the companies that we do business with, and we'd probably forget some anyway, but below are some of our major partners. (This list is most subject to change. We'll update it periodically, but we will not be able to keep pace with the rate of change.)
As a general rule, if you see ads from a company on our site, that company is paying us for such placement. Some of the major ones include Ameritrade, Fisher Investments, Scottrade, optionsXpress, and ShareBuilder. Additionally, companies pay us for inclusion in specific areas of our site (e.g., Registration Page, Broker Center).
Some of our major distribution partners include Universal Press Syndicate, HarperCollins Publishers, AOL, MSNBC, MSN Money and Yahoo!
News, Quotes, Data, and Content Providers
Our major providers include PrecisionIR, CCBN, LeadFusion, Interactive Data and Briefing.com.
Major Service Providers or Other Partners
Silicon Valley Bank, Grant Thornton, Paychex, Charles Schwab, Paymentech and Jones Lang LaSalle.
For a list of our major technology partners, go to: http://www.fool.com/about/vendors/vendors.htm
We have designed our disclosure and trading guidelines to serve our community, our customers, and our employees fairly. As always, though, you should remember to consider every piece of investment information you receive, here at the Fool or elsewhere, not as a de facto recommendation, but as an idea for further consideration. Even the strongest disclosure policy in the world does not excuse individuals from taking responsibility for their own decisions. Due diligence, critical thought, and use of the most extraordinary device in the world (the human brain) are crucial to your financial success. If you'd like to offer us any feedback on this stuff, drop on by our Fool Disclosure Policy discussion board.
Last updated Nov. 11, 2010.