Morgan Stanley’s online trading system for wealthy clients went down

Morgan Stanley, one of the world’s biggest wealth managers, said its online trading portal for wealthy clients went down on Wednesday. 

The bank’s message for clients was to call a human adviser to place trades, rather than using the company’s website. The issue stemmed from a bug in software from a third-party vendor and not high trade volumes or staff working remotely, according to a person briefed on Morgan Stanley’s situation. 

Retail brokerages have suffered sporadic outages this month amid unprecedented volatility and volume in markets amid the coronavirus crisis. Most notably, free-trading pioneer Robinhood was overwhelmed by traffic on several days, including one of the biggest days for gains on the Dow Jones.

Source: Morgan Stanley

The outage at Morgan Stanley lasted at least a few hours during trading Wednesday, and after the close the web portal toggled between being available and showing an error message. The system was fully operational by the next trading session on Thursday. 

Clients who had prices move against them on Wednesday because it took longer-than-normal to execute trades were being made whole today as Morgan Stanley honored the prices they should’ve gotten, said the person with knowledge of the situation. All the major stock indexes were in the midst of a rally on Wednesday. 

When Morgan Stanley announced last month it was purchasing online brokerage E-Trade for $13 billion in stock, part of the rationale for the deal was to acquire the company’s retail trading technology. 

With reporting from CNBC’s Lora Kolodny

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