Morgan Stanley Order-Entry, Order-Status System Breaks Down
(Updated with comment from Morgan Stanley.)
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s vaunted technology systems buckled on Wednesday, blocking brokers and clients from viewing account information and putting in orders.
In a follow-up message, advisors were told that “multiple applications are experiencing latency or may be unstable. Technology is aware and investigating.”
The outage began around 11 a.m., according to several advisors across the U.S. A customer representative at a call center said around 2:00 pm that the company was hoping to have the system operating within two hours, which would be near the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
A Morgan Stanley spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon that the problem does not relate to a capacity overload tied to trading volume or remote users but declined to comment further.
Brokers said they were given links that they could put into their web browser to complete orders.
Clients using mobile apps received a message that “service is temporarily unavailable,” with instructions to call client service center numbers.
One client told AdvisorHub that his online account showed a $0 balance and a message attributing the glitch to “scheduled system maintenance.”
The blackout underscored industry and regulatory concerns about operational efficiency in the face of shelter-at-home orders nationwide. Morgan Stanley two weeks ago recommended that its 15,500 brokers and their teams work from home, providing SecurID tokens that generate authentication codes to facilitate logging in to workstations through a remote server.
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the industry’s major trade group, conducted a March 18 webcast on the impacts of the coronavirus crisis to firms and clients. It included a discussion of “significant management, technology and bandwidth challenges” to maintaining uninterrupted and efficient workflows.
The Morgan Stanley outage occurred as the market was rebounding, though several brokers said anecdotally they had few clients asking to make trades.