got the week off to a
rocky start this morning as its system went down between 6:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.
Traders found themselves unable to use both Schwab's
Web site and touch-tone telephone service. But the problem went beyond
those two automated channels; even Schwab employees were unable to access
user accounts or stock information during the outage.
"Think of our different channels as spokes in a wheel," said Schwab
spokesperson Tom Taggart. "In this case, the hub went out."
Taggart did not know the cause of the shutdown.
During the outage, users were able to place time-stamped trades with
operators by telephone or in person at Schwab's 275 branches nationwide.
Under a company policy, users who have to wait more than five minutes to
place a trade can place it at one of those branches free of charge.
Online trading firms came under fire last October and in some cases had to
users for delayed execution of trades placed over the Internet during
unusually heavy trading.
As might be expected, Schwab's technical glitch this morning resulted in
some irate customers.
"Charles Schwab likes to make noise about being the leading provider," said
day trader Craig Johnson, whose morning trade could not be confirmed today
because of the glitch. "But they didn't have enough backup to provide for
what happened this morning. I'm going to be moving off Charles Schwab
In unrelated news, Schwab today announced its subsidiary Charles Schwab
Europe is launching its online investing service in the United Kingdom.