London Stock Exchange (LSE) system failure stops trading

London Stock Exchange (LSE) system failure stops trading

Summary: Technical problems with the London Stock Exchange's Infolect data delivery system interrupted trading yesterday for 40 minutes, just before the market closed. The timing was highly unfortunate, as it coincided with US stock markets having one of their worst days of the year.

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TOPICS: United Kingdom
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Technical problems with the London Stock Exchange's Infolect data delivery system interrupted trading yesterday for 40 minutes, just before the market closed. The timing was highly unfortunate, as it coincided with US stock markets having one of their worst days of the year.

From the Times Online:

Furious traders were left twiddling their thumbs for the last 40 minutes of trading yesterday after the London Stock Exchange’s IT system collapsed.

The LSE emphasized that the trading system itself was not down but only the Infolect system that disseminates data to the market. However, the effect was that traders would have to wait until this morning to ask clients whether they want to settle trades, since stock prices were uncertain.

And from another Times Online article:

The LSE promised to recalculate the FTSE indices once the closing auction ended but last night it was unclear whether this had been done. Traders were forced to wait until this morning to settle their trades because the prices transmitted by the LSE were unreliable. The closing auction usually takes ten minutes after the 4.30pm market close but yesterday it was extended to 6pm.

In an attempt to learn specifics, I spoke with Catherine Mattison, spokesperson for the London Stock Exchange. She was tight-lipped about the whole incident, absolutely unwilling to divulge details:

We can't go into much detail, I'm afraid. There was a connectivity issue with Infolect, but it was fixed during the night and everything is working fine this morning.

Infolect is the LSE's data delivery system, governing the distribution and format of trading data. For more detailed technical information about Infolect, see this collection of documentation. An interesting technical note, describing Infolect data stream guidelines, can be found here.

This incident reminds me of a similar situation at Los Angeles airport (LAX), where basic networking problems stranded 20,000 passengers for hours. The LAX incident was handled with a much higher degree of transparency.

One wonders how a data transmission interruption could occur, since basic contingency planning includes connectivity scenarios. This failure must have involved both primary and backup systems, meaning the problem was not as straightforward as the LSE would have us believe.

The LSE's refusal to provide specifics begs the question whether the meltdown resulted from unavoidable technical issues, or whether poor management was actually to blame.

Topic: United Kingdom

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8 comments
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  • Maybe they should not have went to Windows....

    :)



    PS This is just a joke, Seeing as Zdnn had all of those Adds with
    London Stock Exchange going to Windows
    mrOSX
    • Did they?

      I was scanning the links to see if that is what they were running.
      Perhaps they got one of those stealth updates that the win-hos say is a lie....!
      Deefburger
    • Typical zealot...

      ... reading OS wars into an APPLICATION failure. If this application ran on Linux (not sure if it does or not) you can be sure the same folks would be blaming the application, not the platform.
      Confused by religion
      • Guess you missed the part about me joking because of all of the ad's

        posted on ZDNN Where London Stock Exchange went to Windows, I dont know anything about the failure, it could be an Application/OS or
        a worker plugging a vacuum cleaner into a power strip and tripping a circuit breaker(This happened to me once)

        [b]I WAS JOKING[/b]
        mrOSX
        • Some people

          have their heads planted so firmly up their backsides they have no idea of what humor is... even when it's blatantly pointed out to them! ]:)
          Linux User 147560
  • RE: London Stock Exchange (LSE) system failure stops trading

    Same is true for everyone on this site, they all have their heads up their backsides. Each trying to stake their claim to the world of OS's. Many times, no matter what your platform, applications will fail because they were written poorly or with some mistakes. Software is always a work in progress, bring me a peice of software that never needs updating and we will all be happy once again.
    OhTheHumanity
  • it's not what can go wrong will...

    It's what can happen will, and no one covers all eventualities. Considering the lack of response, it was most likely the power strip someone suggested jokingly...
    --Glenn
    oregonnerd13
  • There is some truth ...from cio.co.uk

    Infolect was launched two years ago in place of the exchange?s London Market Information Link platform. It uses Microsoft .net technology and a SQL Server database, and runs on more than 100 Intel-based 32-bit Proliant servers. It its accessed by most of the exchange?s member organisations via Extranex, its privately managed IP network.

    http://www.cio.co.uk/concern/security/news/index.cfm?articleid=2248&pagtype=allchantopdate
    shoktai@...