Master Investor interviews Scott Grant, director and co-founder of London South East, the UK’s leading web portal for private investors. 2018 is set to be a landmark year for the company’s flagship website, lse.co.uk. We talked to Scott to get a better idea of what’s in store…
James Faulkner: Hi Scott. Many of our readers will already be familiar with London South East as one of – if not the – most popular investor chat rooms in the UK. For those who aren’t, can you provide a brief introduction?
Scott Grant: Hi James. London South East’s flagship website is www.lse.co.uk. It currently attracts over 1.1 million unique visitors each month, to whom we ‘serve’ over 32 million pages to (across all devices). We are the go-to portal for Private Investors – part of their daily trading/investing routine. The gamut of information and tools offered runs from a moderated Chat Forum to free live RNS to Level 2 data (a subscription service) – and the list goes on and on!
JF: So this is essentially a one-stop-shop for private investors of all creeds. I understand that 2017 has been a landmark year for lse.co.uk. Can you put the year into perspective and give us a flavour of what changes you’ve been making?
SG: 2017 has been all about reliability for us. We were not a site that suffered huge swathes of unreliability anyhow, yet when you provide services such as (paid-for) Live Prices and Level 2 consoles, up-time is of paramount importance. In October, for instance, we had 100% up-time, which is great to see, and credit to the team of Developers. Beyond that, we have fixed bugs when they have arisen, plus tried to improve as many features as possible and implement Member/Visitor suggestions. We have had to balance this with working on the new site iteration – to arrive in early 2018.
We are the go-to portal for Private Investors – part of their daily trading/investing routine.
JF: So users can look forward to an updated version of the website in 2018. What new features can they expect to enjoy?
SG: There are new features to look forward to – such as publishing the ‘Short’ positions held on individual shares; NEX and BATS data; Media/IR/Events sections; and much more. However, harking back to my answer to the previous question, at least an equal weight has been placed on working to secure reliability and increase speed across the website, in order to deal comfortably with the ‘load’ that our many visitors place on our infrastructure. To this end, many things that we have wanted to resolve for a long while – such as re-designing the way News is handled and presented, and the searchability and look of our Blogs section – have now been addressed.
JF: Let’s talk a little more about your recent involvement in investor relations and events. What drove you to delve into these areas?
SG: With the large audience we have – and seemingly the trust the Private Investor and Trader community has in us – it seemed sensible to start to build a bridge between them and listed companies. We have not gone hell-for-leather into this market, yet have now held five or so Private Investor events that have been well received. The success of our ‘Share Views’ video on YouTube (youtube.com/lsecouk) has also been fantastic to see, with companies such as Cabot Energy and Columbus Energy attracting over 11,000 views! We recently undertook an eight-company Pharma video shoot in conjunction with Edison Research, so will look to build on this and our Investor Relations (IR) presence in 2018.
JF: How does your presence at the 2018 Master Investor Show fit into all this?
SG: Master Investor Show 2018 will be our third consecutive appearance, with London South East being a key event partner for the second consecutive year. We are keen supporters of this event as it provides what I have previously alluded to: a ‘bridge’ between those individuals interested and active in the stock market and listed companies/major financial organisations/investor services. As we find when hosting our smaller Private Investor evenings, there is no substitute for face-to-face contact. In our case, it is between us and the site user; whereas at MIS it is also between the Private Investor and Listed Company. In terms of profile, it is also fantastic to be associated with all the other great companies at the event, and we enjoy being the headline sponsor of the ‘Rising Stars’ stage, show-casing 20+ dynamic up-and-coming companies presenting to the MIS audience.
With the large audience we have – and seemingly the trust the Private Investor and Trader community has in us – it seemed sensible to start to build a bridge between them and listed companies.
JF: As private investors we must take advantage of all the resources available to us, and the Master Investor Show and lse.co.uk are great examples of such resources. Can you suggest a couple of useful tools/features on lse.co.uk that readers may have overlooked or simply not be aware of?
SG: Membership of lse.co.uk if free. Once logged-in, you can access our ‘Quick Picks’ feature. This allows you to ‘pin’ shares you are interested in to the left-hand side of the page as you travel around the website. This provides a snap-shot of the share price – whether it is up or down, and by what percentage or monetary amount. Live Regulatory News Service (RNS) company updates are also free to Members. If you are Subscriber to any of our paid services, we have adjusted them so all packages contain our popular dashboard tool ‘myTerminal’.
JF: Let’s say I’m a private investor who’s new to lse.co.uk. How can I ensure I get the most out of the site from day one?
SG: Explore, explore, explore! There is no substitute for ‘playing’ with the website and learning as you go. Alternatively, if a new user has any queries, they can contact our excellent (I am biased!) Customer Service Team via ‘email@example.com‘ or Tweet to ‘@LondonSouthEast’. We hope to introduce some material to the site in the near future which helps users on their journey around lse.co.uk.
JF: What would you say to those investors who eschew chat rooms as hives of share rampers?
SG: Share Chat Forums have their place. I believe, as anywhere in life where people are found en-masse (e.g. Twitter), you have to be judicial in what and whom you put store by We offer, to my knowledge, the only moderated Share Chat Forum in the UK. This can help with the quality of the boards, alongside the features we provide which offer the ability to report posts and filter (not see) other users and their posts. Above all, the old adage of ‘DYOR!’ (do your own research) holds as true today as it ever did.
JF: Indeed! Scott, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with Master Investor today, and I’d also like to urge our readers to go over to lse.co.uk and check out all the resources available there. It really is a great resource for PIs.
SG: Thanks, James. Wishing you and the Master Investor crew success in 2018 – especially with the Show!
London South East is sponsoring the Rising Stars Stage at Master Investor Show 2018. Meet Scott and the team at stand number 65.