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Technology > Investment Platforms

Tech Problems on Merrill, Thinkorswim Trading Platforms Tick Off Investors

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The Merrill Lynch and TD Ameritrade thinkorswim trading platforms experienced technical issues Wednesday morning that prevented at least some brokers and investors from being able to either complete orders or just load charts, according to Downdetector and comments on Twitter.

The issue affecting Merrill Lynch’s platform started at 10:05 a.m. ET, according to Downdetector, where several brokers and investors complained they could not execute their orders. “People are losing opportunities,” one person complained.

However, “the situation was short-lived and has been resolved,” a Merrill Lynch spokesperson said at 11:36 a.m. He didn’t provide additional details, including what caused the issue and how it was resolved. One person on Downdetector said about an hour earlier that an order was able to be filled.

Downdetector, meanwhile, reported an issue with TD Ameritrade at 9:37 a.m. that was also apparently short-lived. Thinkorswim acknowledged the issue on Twitter, where it tweeted at 10:12 a.m.: “we have longer than normal wait times” and “please note we will try to get to you ASAP.”

Only a few minutes earlier, at 9:54 a.m., thinkorswim tweeted: “we had a brief period where we saw slowness and charts not loading, this should now be much better.”

One person who identified himself as a day trader tweeted at thinkorswim that he “lost $200 on your platform issues.” Thinkorswim responded by asking him to “please chat us or call us so we can look into this.”

A TD Ameritrade spokesperson told ThinkAdvisor at 11:56 a.m.: “Any reports of a thinkorswim outage are inaccurate. This morning at market open, there was a very short period where clients on the thinkorswim platform experienced a brief lag in their ability to view their account balance, quotes and positions, but the ability to trade was not impacted and the issue was quickly resolved. This issue did not impact any other TD Ameritrade platforms.”

There were several outages and technical issues reported with the trading platforms of TD Ameritrade and Merrill Lynch, as well as Charles Schwab, E-Trade, Fidelity, Robinhood and Vanguard last year. They included technical issues with the Schwab and E-Trade platforms in December.

Schwab reported in November that an unspecified “technical issue” prevented at least some clients from being able to log into its online trading platform, while Downdetector said outages were also experienced by E-Trade, Fidelity, Merrill Lynch, Robinhood, TD Ameritrade and Vanguard.

On Aug. 31, a multi-system market outage affected many of the largest brokerage firm platforms, with clients taking to Twitter to voice their frustration. Only a few days earlier, thinkorswim experienced technical issues for several days. That followed multiple outages on the websites of TD Ameritrade and other financial firms earlier in 2020 that led several investors to take to Twitter to complain about trades they were unable to make and money they lost as a result.


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