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Example: I discuss a movie with a friend. I really like the movie. But I also have stocks of the company that made the movie.

Should I mention to the friend that I have stocks of that company? Talking about money/stocks gives the impression that I have much money (which I don't), also it looks like my feedback/opinion about the product isn't honest.

On the other side, not mentioning that I have stocks could get interpretated as try to "sell" them bad stuff just because I have stocks of the company.

If its relevant: I don't own much stocks of said company (less than 0.01‰ of all stocks).

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about ethics, not about interpersonal skills. – user510 Aug 28 '17 at 15:13
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Your one friend's decision whether to see the movie will have no significant effect on the company's bottom line or the stock's price. Any conflict of interest is minimal if it exists at all. I wouldn't bother with a disclaimer in that case, as telling your friend about such a minimal potential bias may come across less as a disclaimer and more as bragging.

Of course, this changes if you're shouting from the rooftops about how great the movie is.

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Youtube actually provides a great example here; vloggers (those who produce video blogs) will disclose that they received products / services when reviewing them if they're trying to sell the product / service.

In other words, if they're actively pushing the watcher to do something (buy the product, use the service) knowing whether they're pushing because they genuinely like the thing, or because someone's paying them to push it is important. It can change our opinion of the product/service if we think the vlogger is mentioning it of their own free will, or because they have to in order to get paid.

Now to put it back in the perspective of your example; you're not trying to get your friend to buy stock in the company too, you're just having a casual conversation about something you enjoyed. No one's paying you to mention the movie and talk about how great it is. Therefore, you have no obligation to mention the stocks.

You only "need" (and even that's up to debate) to mention it when your investment in the company prevents you from giving an objective opinion / review of a product or service, or if the company is directly paying you specifically so that you mention them.

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  • In your video review example, odds are they are not merely doing the disclosure out of the goodness of their hearts. If either the company or the reviewer is in the US, they're subject to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules mandating disclosure. And they are enforced: ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/07/… – nobody Aug 29 '17 at 13:30
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I think that I would be honest about my opinion on the product (movie or whatever you are talking about) and not mention the stocks you own, but don't hide them.

If during a conversation for whatever reason you start talking about stacks, or something related, don't be afraid to mention them.

As stated by @cHao the conflict of interest is minimal and I really doubt that your friend will see you as dishonest for that.

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