ASX claims 'market data issues' in trade pause

A software issue limited to the trading of multiple securities in a single order created inaccurate market data, forcing the exchange to pause trade.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The go-live of the refreshed Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) trade system was on Monday interrupted by "market data issues", later revealed as a software issue, causing the ASX to pause trade.

The ASX's status page showed its ultra-latency cash equity market trading platform, ASX Trade, was paused. The trading services ASX TradeMatch and ASX Centre Point both operate on ASX Trade.

Impacted services include equities, exchange-traded funds, exchange-traded options, warrants, index options, interest rate securities, and Australian government bonds.

"The ASX equity market is currently paused and there is no trading while we investigate market data issues," a spokesperson for the exchange told ZDNet, repeating what was provided in a tweet shortly after reports of an outage started surfacing.

"ASX apologises for the disruption and is working to rectify the issue as soon as possible."

It updated users via Twitter, saying it was continuing to investigate the issue causing today's market outage.

The exchange later said ASX equity markets would not open for the remainder of today. 

It also said the underlying cause of the issue had been identified, however, and a resolution path would be in place to allow trading to commence on Tuesday at 10am AEDT.

The issue was shortly after revealed as being a software issue.

"ASX and its technology provider Nasdaq have identified the root cause and a resolution path to fix it. A software issue limited to the trading of multiple securities in a single order (combination trading) created inaccurate market data," the exchange said.

With Monday being the go-live date for the refreshed ASX Trade system, the exchange said Nasdaq, customers, and independent specialist third parties conducted extensive testing for over a year, including four dress rehearsals, in preparation for sending it out in the wild. ASX said the refresh is the latest generation of a Nasdaq-developed trading system used around the world.

"ASX is very disappointed with today's outage ... the outage falls short of the high standards we set ourselves and the standards others expect of us," ASX managing director and CEO Dominic Stevens said.

"Notwithstanding the extensive testing and rehearsals, and the involvement of our technology provider, ASX accepts responsibility. The obligation to get this right and provide a reliable and resilient trading system for the market rests with us.

"While I am disappointed with today's outage, we are determined to continue our program of contemporising ASX's technology stack from top to bottom. This initiative is critical to ASX building an exchange for the future and ensuring we best serve the needs of our customers and the Australian market."

In delivering its results for the 2020 financial year, the ASX said it experienced its highest ever trading volume. It also boasted 100% up time of its key trading and post-trade systems.

The exchange in 2018 was asked to up its risk management practices following an "unprecedented" hardware failure in September 2016 that resulted in the outage of its equity market.

More to come

Updated 4:00pm AEDT: Added full-day closure notice.
Updated 4:10pm AEDT: Confirmed the issue was software-related.


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