Merrill Brokers Lost Internet Connection
(Article was updated on April 22 with identity of the ISP provider responsible for the outage.)
Merrill Lynch brokers lost access to their workstations intermittently Tuesday morning nationwide as a result of a network issue related to an internet service provider (ISP), a spokesman said.
“I was working on something, and then a message popped up saying ‘application disrupted,’” said one broker in the Southeast, who lost access around noon.
The ISP company was CenturyLink, Inc.
The outages, which may have affected other brokerage clients of the ISP, occurred as stock indexes were in a daylong tumble, with the S&P 500 ending down 3.1%. One Merrill broker said he was able to input trading orders through skeleton crews staffing branches and technology centers.
Internet capacity affecting ISPs and cloud network providers has been taxed broadly since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the U.S. has sparked shelter-at-home orders for much of the population.
“It is certainly a difficult time, and any disruption makes things that much harder,” CenturyLink spokesman Mark Molzen wrote in an email Tuesday evening. “On April 21, some customers experienced a disruption to Content Delivery Network, IP and Transport services. All services are restored. We know our customers are counting on us, and we apologize for the impact this had.”
Merrill about five weeks ago ordered almost all of its employees, including most of its more than 14,000 brokers, to remain sheltered at home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bank of America’s Merrill Edge suffered a 20-minute outage late in the day on March 25 that affected customers’ ability to view their accounts.
Morgan Stanley brokers and customers lost access to order-entry and trading systems on March 25 for more than four hours as a result of a problem with IBM software. The firm subsequently reimbursed clients for revenue related to missed transactions that disadvantaged them.
Wealth management clients of JP Morgan Chase lost access to an electronic trading platform as markets plunged on March 12.
Robinhood Markets, which offers no-commission stock trades through an app, suffered outages in early March as trading volume overwhelmed capacity.