TECHKNOW: Net heads


Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010




Rosalyn Wilton began her career as a City money broker in the mid-70s, when electronic trading was in its infancy. She was the first woman on the board of LIFFE in 1985, and by 1992 was managing director of Reuters Information and the first woman on that company's executive committee too. She went virtual last year, becoming CEO of, the rapidly growing online reincarnation of financial publishers Hemington Scott.

When did you first become interested in the internet?

I started actually using the net about four years ago, but I've been a believer in the power of electronic trading for much longer than that. I was building electronic marketplaces for currency trading 25 years ago.

How much time do you spend surfing each day?

I'm on the net for a couple of hours a day, mostly for business purposes and in short bursts - I go to a specific site for a specific purpose. I don't have time for browsing.

Which sites do you use each week?

I'm hooked on share prices - if there is a computer screen on anywhere I can't help looking at it. I always look up the prices on the Asian markets first thing in the morning and the Nasdaq closing prices when I get home. I use, of course, and not just because I work here - I used it when I was at Reuters too. I have used, but as a rule I don't like search engines. So many of the results are irrelevant. I don't shop on the net because I had a bad experience a couple of years ago with a US site - the goods never turned up and I was charged twice. But if Tesco online delivered in my area I'd try that.

Who are your advisers?

We don't use advisers or consultants. We have our own web design teams, and our in-house IT and technical support capabilities are growing too.

What is your company's web strategy?

As far as I am concerned, the web is absolutely not about page impressions or unique users, it's about making money. We have collected a lot of data over the years, some of which has never been used, and I am looking for ways to turn that information into new products. As well as operating our own site, we also provide information on UK quoted companies to the likes of 3i, e-trade and Nomura for use on their web sites. But 50% of our business comes from building and maintaining investor relations pages on the sites of large corporates. That costs them about pounds 8,000 a year.

What are the most significant changes that the internet will bring about?

I've seen the way that technology can change markets - when electronic forex trading was introduced in the '70s numerous banks closed as a result.

They were no longer necessary. The internet, and B2B exchanges in particular, will have a similar effect in other sectors. It is a more transparent and cost-effective way of doing business.

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