ASX November Outage Happened as an Update Was ‘Not Ready to Go-Live’

ASIC is now investigating the exchange for any compliance failures.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has published the findings of IBM Australia, which was commissioned to review the shortcomings that led to the outage of the Aussie equity trading platform last November after a major upgrade.

The independent review was conducted as the two key regulators, ASIC and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), raised significant concerns over the outage of the trading platform that impacted the markets.

According to IBM, the ASX Trade system was ‘not ready to go-live’ as service disruption creates havoc in the market. “This was the case even though the formal implementation readiness processes were completed and verified by multiple parties without objection to go-live,” the announcement stated.

Additionally, there were gaps in the delivery risk and issue management process of the project, while it failed to meet industry standards in the areas of risk and issue management, project compliance and strategy tests.

IBM’s recommendations of shortcomings and improvements were largely seen in seven areas: risk, governance, delivery, requirements, vendor management, testing and incident management.

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Improvement Needed

“The independent expert found that ASX met or exceeded leading industry practices in most areas, but the conclusion that the project was not ready for go-live is very disappointing,” said ASIC Chair, Joe Longo.

“ASX has acknowledged and accepted the need for improvement. We do, however, require assurance that these improvements are implemented effectively and result in an overall improvement to ASX’s enterprise-wide project management practices.”

Meanwhile, ASX is facing a separate investigation on the outage by ASIC, which is looking if the exchange operator violated any obligatory requirements under its Australian Market Licence.

Trading outage remains a major issue of concern as it heavily impacts the market activities. Other than ASX, many other exchanges have suffered as their services were disrupted in recent years. Most notably, external cyberattacks on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) last August disrupted its operations for days.

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