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Schwab Trading Platform Outage Annoys Investors

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What You Need to Know

  • At least some online functionality was unavailable to investors on Monday morning, the company said.
  • Schwab, along with other online brokerages, dealt with outages earlier this year.
  • A reason for the issue was not provided but, in the past, Schwab has chalked up such problems to heavy trading volume.

Some investors took to Twitter on Monday morning to complain they were unable to trade stocks on the Charles Schwab platform in the latest outage that has plagued Schwab and other firms for the past two years.

“Some clients experienced intermittent issues with online functionality earlier this morning, which have since been completely restored,” a Schwab spokesperson told ThinkAdvisor on Monday afternoon. “We apologize to our clients for any inconvenience they may have experienced.”

She did not specify what caused the issue. In the past, the firm has chalked up similar issues to excessive trading volume.

The firm responded the same way to multiple investors on Monday morning, tweeting, “certain online functionality on Schwab.com, our mobile app, and StreetSmart platforms may currently be unavailable.”

Schwab was “working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible” and “we apologize for any inconvenience,” the firm added.

Downdetector.com reported that the outage started at 10:08 a.m. Eastern time on Monday. But one investor indicated that the trading system went down a little earlier than that, saying it was not working only 20 minutes after the opening bell. Others questioned why this seemed to happen every time the market was down.

Providing more specifics on what was happening when attempting to enter a buy order, Herb Greenberg, founder and managing member of Herb Greenberg Research, tweeted: “Funny. Trying to put in a buy order on @CharlesSchwab and 1) first it says I have the wrong symbol (I didn’t) and 2) then as the stock I wanted to buy continued to fall), I got the ole ‘system current[ly] unavailable.’ Screw it. I’m going out for a walk.”

After many service outages across multiple trading platforms last year, 2021 started with investors complaining of glitches when logging in or attempting to make trades using the online and mobile trading platforms of Schwab, Fidelity, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley’s E-Trade, Robinhood, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim and Vanguard.

Although problems had been reported with trading platforms many times in the previous months, that was one of the few times in which issues were reported across so many major platforms at about the same time.

On Aug. 31, however, a multi-system market outage affected many of the largest brokerage firm platforms, with clients taking to Twitter to voice their frustration.

Charles Schwab sign (Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg)