Charles Shwab......y2k testing???? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

My husband heard on this evenings news about Charles Shwab computers being down all day.....anyone hear about this?? could it be y2k testing??? He just caught part of it.

-- Raven (, February 24, 1999


Hi Raven, this popped up a while back on Breaking News:

Computer Malfunction Derails Online Trading at Schwab

2/24/99 -- 4:48 PM, AP

[ For educational purposes only ] NEW YORK (AP) - Charles Schwab became the latest Internet brokerage to frustrate online investors as a computer crash just minutes after Wednesday's opening bell left the industry's dominant player offline for most of the morning.

The online system went down at 9:37 a.m. EST due to software problems with a new mainframe computer that was added to help Schwab handle its booming Internet business, a spokesman said.

The problem was fixed by 11:08 a.m., but some customers continued to experience delays as technicians gradually restored the system. By early afternoon, the company said, service was back to normal.

Schwab, the dominant player in the burgeoning online trading industry, asked customers who couldn't place trades through its Web site to phone in their trades or visit a broker at one of the company's 293 branch offices.

The company moved additional staffers to the phone lines and offered discounted trading fees to mollify angry investors.
Spokesman Dan Hubbard said Schwab installed a third mainframe - a giant computer that runs smaller computer networks - over the weekend as part of its plan to handle booming business.
``We needed to increase capacity to keep things running smoothly for our customers,'' Hubbard said. ``The technology apparently wasn't perfect.''

The system failure follows a series of similar embarrassments at Schwab's main online rivals.

In early February, software problems at ETrade Group Inc. derailed online trading three separate times, prompting two class-action lawsuits against that brokerage. Ameritrade and Datek have also experienced service interruptions.

Complaints about those problems have prompted increased attention from regulatory authorities.

New York state's attorney general recently launched an investigation into online brokerages, and the National Association of Securities Dealers has laid out guidelines for online brokerages to disclose the potential for service problems.
But with no end in sight to the surging demand for online trading, Schwab and its rivals will be forced to continually upgrade their systems, opening the door to more glitches.

Julio Gomez, founder of Internet consulting firm Gomez Advisors, said online brokerages are experiencing severe growing pains as millions of investors discover the speed and relative ease of online trading.

``It's not a matter of 'if the system crashes,' it's a matter of 'when it crashes,''' Gomez said. ``They are all still marketing aggressively, and they're not yet ready to handle all that volume.''

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-- Leska (, February 24, 1999.

Thanks Leska....also noticed I didn't spell schwab right. oops!

-- Raven (, February 24, 1999.

Funny how these "crashes" seem to happen when everyone wants to sell. The Dow closed down 145 points, and if Schwab had been functioning that might be 200.

-- (@@@.@), February 24, 1999.

Funny that these crashes always happen when everyone wants to sell?

No, exactly what you'd expect. It's called stress-testing. A computer system, like any other complex system, is most probably going to fail when it's being pushed close to its limits.

Actually it's not at all obvious that an electronic device following algorithmic rules WILL act this way, but experience teaches that it does. The busier the system, the more likely bugs are to surface. Those who really, really care will set up a test system and artificially generate an ever-increasing amount of imaginary business to see what happens, until finally there are no stress-related bugs left and the worst that happens is that it gets sloooooooooooow. But doing this sort of testing is rather expensive, so far too many places work reactively instead of proactively.... the same ones that buy Windows/NT instead of VMS, if you'll pardon a geek comment.

And when the market really CRASHES ... you've sold already and don't care, right?

And of course, this explanation is the same as the explanation of why we're headed for a big Y2K mess. You can sum it all up in two words: procrastination and greed.

-- Nigel Arnot (, February 25, 1999.

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