Glitches Disrupt Online Stockbrokers' Services : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Glitches Disrupt Online Stockbrokers' Services 4/9/2000 12:28 by Sam Barrett Personal Finance Correspondent With the FTSE techMARK 100 continuing to rise and the action hotting up for investors, online stockbrokers Charles Schwab and Barclays Stockbrokers are reassuring customers that, despite the problems encountered on Friday, their services can cope with the increased demand.

Both companies have confirmed the problems, which brought Schwab's online dealing service down for the afternoon and put Barclays online service out of action for two hours, were caused by unrelated internal software glitches.

Both companies spent the weekend testing their systems, and, although the Schwab service was still experiencing problems when the markets first opened this morning, both are now happy that the problems have been resolved.

"We had some new software implemented last week and it appears that this caused the problems," said Nigel Reynolds, director at Charles Schwab. "In the future we will make sure that every time we make changes we will fully test them so there aren't any problems."

He added that the glitches users had encountered this morning were really an overhang from Friday's problem, as - although the system had been fully tested over the weekend - it is only when it is fully operational that everything will become apparent.

Justin Urquhart-Stewart, director of Barclays Stockbrokers, explained what happened with its service: "The problem was caused by the software rather than the volume of business we received. We had problems getting prices on Friday, which could have caused difficulties. If an order goes through for which we do not have a price then it will be flagged up. If there are several of these we have found that it can cause the system to shut down. We will also take the service down tonight and test it again."

Anyone logging on to the Barclays Stockbrokers' site would have been redirected to its telephone service. "The nominee side of the telephone dealing arm was extremely busy but we have standby call centres to deal with extra demand so we found that we didn't hit capacity," Urquhart-Stewart continues.

Both companies also ensured that Internet customers forced to deal by telephone were charged the lower commission that applies to online dealing.

However, other Internet brokers believe the problems will have repercussions for online trading. DLJ Direct's head of marketing, Paul Lubbock describes the failure of the Barclays and Charles Schwab Internet trading arms as disappointing. "There are a lot of people who will use the Internet for research and then turn to the telephone to place a deal," he commented. "We are trying to appeal to them, but this type of problem will affect their confidence in Internet dealing."

-- Martin Thompson (, September 04, 2000


I, too, plead guilty to using the internet for investment research, then turning to the phone to place orders. Old habits die hard.

-- Uncle Fred (, September 04, 2000.

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