Epic snafu takes Australian Securities Exchange offline

Hardware failure in main database has traders Googling 'redundancy'

Australian stock traders will be trying to reconcile trades that got lost after the Australian Securities Exchange's Nasdaq-supplied trading platform melted down yesterday.

Monday, September 19, was a day of embarrassment for the ASX. Markets opened 90 minutes late, systems struggled throughout the day, and at 2:00pm the ASX waved the white flag.

The glitch left traders unable to close out their positions ahead of international markets, and ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting this week.

Early in the day, the ASX said it was working with its IT provider Nasdaq to try and resolve the problem.

Apart from trying to reassure investors with an increasingly desperate series of Tweets, the exchange issued this media statement.

In it, CEO Dominic Stevens apologises, assured people there were no security issues involved in the system collapse, and says:

“The primary issue arose from a hardware failure in the main database used by the system. This had a number of knock-on consequences that affected the operation of the market. These included a delay to the market open and the decision to close the market early due to ongoing issues that impacted the proper functioning of the trading platform.”

Traders will surely be asking if the ASX – or Nasdaq, for that matter – has heard of redundancy.

A markets update issued by ASX acting group executive for operations, Eloise Wett, says the hardware failure took out its ASX Trade platform.

She promises a “full detailed incident report” later this week, and says the ASX has scheduled a customer forum for next week.

Wett's chronology of events is here, and gives the same attribution as Stevens' media release.

She notes that the ASX updated market participants throughout the day, including via social media. We've included the ASX Twitter feed below.

Unfortunately, as Wett's chronology notes, N—R securities were opened by mistake, and trades in that group apparently went missing.

The ASX decided it had sorted out that problem, and scheduled the opening of “Group 4”.

That didn't work out so well…

Counting down to 10:00am, Sydney time... ®

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