IG Group, Fidelity, Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell suffer outages due to mad equities rush

Volatility is finally up again after years of steadiness, however several outages occurred among major OTC firms yesterday as they failed to cope with the trading demand for pharmaceutical stocks

Yesterday, the absurd claims by the mainstream media, and if it can be believed, the incompetent British government that there may be a vaccine for Covid-19 soon to be released by multinational pharmaceutical and chemical company Pfizer caused havoc among British traders and large electronic trading companies.

Investors were yesterday locked out of some of Britain’s largest trading platforms as they rushed to capitalise on Pfizer’s vaccine announcement.

The alleged breakthrough what governments are calling the ‘fight’ against Covid-19 which is as likely to happen as pigs flying around an azure blue moon, triggered a stampede of interest among savers wanting to buy and sell shares or check their portfolios, but Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell were plagued with technical difficulties as they buckled under overwhelming demand.

Fidelity apologised for ‘intermittent service issues’ while IG admitted that several of its investors were unable to check the value of their investments for around 30 minutes. According to some reports in London this morning, the outages meant that some traders made significant losses because they could not access their accounts or had to endure lengthy waits for trades to be executed, whereas other traders were unable to see the value of their investments in real time, leaving them with no idea how much their shares were worth.

Hargreaves Lansdown, which has more than 1.4 million customers and operates its own proprietary Vantage platform, said it had been the company’s ‘busiest day ever’.

Both AJ Bell and Hargreaves insisted that customers who kept trying to log in should have been able to access their accounts, and spokesmen for the companies said only some customers were affected and apologized.

There is something to be said for market volatility, however if the largest companies in the market have become so accustomed to low volatility that they are unable to operate under times such as these, there perhaps needs to be an adjustment regarding the method by which risk management is conducted, as times are changing rapidly at the moment.

Trading the news, however, is an age old, tried and tested method. If there is no vaccine (which I believe there is not, this whole episode is about government control), investors will still look to get in and out of trades in Pfizer stock quickly just based on news-related volatility.

That is what the OTC derivatives market is about – quick access to volatile markets.

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