worried businessman at computer

While stocks tumbled Monday amid increased fears of the coronavirus becoming a pandemic, Charles Schwab, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade investors experienced additional aggravation by not being able to access their retirement accounts at those firms’ websites.

There were widespread complaints on Twitter from investors who could not get into their accounts online or experienced either slowness or an inability to access certain online features.

Some investors complained that they accessed their Fidelity accounts and saw they suddenly had a $0 balance — an issue that some had experienced only a few days earlier, they said.

“Looks like @Fidelity is trying to protect investors from themselves? MarketCashCapital tweeted, adding: “Or I just lost all my monies already today. @Fidelity it would be great on a day like today if your site worked.” MarketCashCapital complained about not being able to get into the account for over 20 minutes at the opening of the market, pondering whether it was time for a new provider, possibly Schwab.

In response, a user named Cheryl loves life! complained that it was the “2nd time in a week” that the site crashed, adding: “this firm needs to be spanked.”

Few specifics were provided by the firms about the online problems. “Some customers experienced technical issues this morning,” a Fidelity spokesman said, adding: “They are now resolved.”

He declined to say what the cause of the issue was, how long it lasted and how many customers were believed to have been affected. He also did not provide any details about the earlier issue with $0 balances.

Meanwhile, “client trades were, and are being processed as usual,” TD Ameritrade spokeswoman Margaret Farrell told ThinkAdvisor Monday afternoon. “We did briefly experience some slowness in the reporting of trade confirmations this morning related to heavy trade volumes at the open,” she said, adding: “The issue was quickly resolved.”

Similarly, Charles Schwab spokeswoman Mayura Hooper said Monday afternoon: “Due to higher-than-usual volumes, some clients may have experienced delays in accessing some online features as the market opened but our systems are fine and up and running.”

The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled more than 800 points Monday, while the Nasdaq was down nearly 300 points as of Monday afternoon. Sectors hit the hardest included travel and leisure, while tech stocks also continued to suffer because so many products are manufactured in China.

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