Several Wall Street brokerage firms and trading platforms were rocked Monday by service interruptions as stocks and oil soared after positive news from Pfizer on a COVID-19 vaccine.
Customers of Merrill Lynch, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Vanguard said they had experienced some form of issues or slowness on their brokers’ platforms, according to Downdetector app, which monitors over 3,000 services in 25 countries.
Trading problems began as soon as Wall Street opened for trading, and there are reasons to believe the issue was related to trading volumes after the Dow Jones gained over 1,300 points and the S&P 500 rallied more than 3%, both hitting fresh records.
TD Ameritrade said its issues were resolved around 20.20 GMT after customers logged hundreds of reports beginning shortly after the opening of trading.
We’ve resolved the earlier issue that affected some clients’ ability to log in across multiple TDA platforms due to unprecedented volumes of activity. We apologize for the inconvenience and take the performance and reliability of our trading platforms very seriously.
— TD Ameritrade (@TDAmeritrade) November 9, 2020
Charles Schwab also acknowledged it had technical issues ranging from delays in order updates to keeping clients away from their accounts and trades, but by late afternoon not yet said they were resolved.
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Some Schwab applications experienced technical issues early this morning, which have now been resolved. We are currently working to address client questions as quickly as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing our clients.
— Charles Schwab Corp (@CharlesSchwab) November 9, 2020
Customers of Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch also reported difficulties, including slowness with websites and mobile apps, that resulted in user complaints, but the bank denied they had experienced an outage.
A spokesman for UK spread better IG Group told Reuters their platform had “unprecedented trading volumes in the 30 minutes after the Pfizer announcement were up to 10 times the level seen earlier in the day and broke a previous record set in March.”
Similar to previous outages, traders took to social media to criticize their respective platform, threatening to switch their current broker.
Glitches that kept clients from trading on historic market moves are becoming widespread and common, though it is rarer for several of them to happen simultaneously. Almost all major US brokers had difficulty just keeping their service online during the financial turmoil largely driven by coronavirus concerns. They often blamed the crashes on a steer trading volume and new account sign-ups, promising to improve their infrastructure and investing in additional redundancies.
Robinhood, the extremely popular online brokerage, experienced many system-wide outages throughout this year and clients had difficulties accessing their accounts. However, the no-fee investment app did not report any issues today though it was part of a similar multi-system market outage that affected the US major platforms in August due to higher-than-usual trading volumes.