London Traders Left Frustrated Over LSE's Technical Glitch

(Bloomberg) -- Traders were left twiddling their thumbs for an hour until equity markets at London Stock Exchange Group Plc opened for business, marking its first such delay in seven years.

Euronext NV and Deutsche Boerse AG have also experienced technical issues with their operations this year. In most cases like this, the matter is due to a routine change that went wrong or the lack of a back-up within multiple layers of technology, according to Doron Pinhas, chief technology officer of Continuity Software, a company servicing major global banks and exchanges.

“Sometimes glitches over time don’t blow up immediately, which creates hidden risk,” Pinhas said. “Technology is advancing, but at the same time complexity is growing” and some companies are turning to automation to improve quality controls, he said.

Meanwhile, some millennial traders had never seen such a problem before, according to Mike Van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, an online trading services provider, in London. It was complicated by some stocks, like Vodafone Group Plc, going ex-dividend, meaning they no longer trade with a right to receive a the payout and so usually fall.

“We didn’t have a true idea where stocks were going to open,” Van Dulken said. “Futures got ahead of themselves hoping stocks would open higher, when actually some opened down due to an ex-dividend day.”

That frustration was shared by Atif Latif, director of trading at Guardian Stockbrokers.

“On a heavy dividend day and with the recent price volatility we had to gauge prices based on the European market and index futures,” he said. “It led to more volume and volatility when it opened up as we were playing catch up with the rest of the market.”

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index of leading stocks traded up 0.3 percent at 1:19 p.m.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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