Outages at Interactive Brokers, Robinhood leave stock traders furious

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Retail investors were effectively locked out of their brokerage accounts on Monday as a top online trading platform, Interactive Brokers, was crippled by technical trouble.

The news coincided with a brief and apparently unrelated outage at Robinhood, the one-click trading app whose popularity has surged during the pandemic. The twin outages infuriated many investors, who took to Twitter to excoriate the companies for cutting them off from the markets at the start of the week.

More than an hour into New York trading, Interactive Brokers was still citing a “significant failure in multiple segments” of its data storage systems.

“We recognize the dislocation this has caused to our clients, and express our apologies,” the company, with more than 1 million customers, said in an emailed statement. “Many services have already been restored and the remaining services are expected to be available promptly.”

Robinhood said it had resolved earlier problems with its own platform. A spokeswoman for TD Ameritrade, meanwhile, said it wasn’t experiencing any disruptions even though some customers had logged complaints about the service on Downdetector’s website.

It has been a bumpy year for online brokerages, which have grappled with repeated service disruptions and hacking attacks as user trading has surged. Access to more than 10,000 email login credentials allegedly tied to Robinhood accounts were available for sale at one point, Bloomberg reported in October.

“These providers have got to provide a consistent experience to the user or they will lose that big surge in growth they’ve had,” said Eric Diton, president of the Wealth Alliance, an investment advisory firm. “They’ve got to fix those technology issues.”

Interactive Brokers’s problems started shortly after 6:30 a.m. in New York, with more than 300 people registering complaints on Downdetector by 9 a.m.

--With assistance from Claire Ballentine.

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