NYSE Brokers Experience Handheld Outage, Says Report
New York Stock Exchange brokers are back to work, according to a 10 a.m. report from Reuters.
Earlier on the morning of April 6, the news organization reported that brokers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and NYSE Amex cash equities markets were "unable to log in to handheld devices," Reuters reported.
"Customers should contact their floor brokers to verify connectivity," the news service further warned.
The NYSE released no official word on what caused the issue, how it was resolved or what types of devices were affected.
Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies, began his career providing devices to stock traders in the 1970s, and says that the "handhelds" are likely devices specifically designed for the traders on the floor.
"Those devices, I believe, are infrared. They're high bandwidth and require line of sight," Kay told eWEEK. "One thing is, they die when you walk off the floor. If you take it outside of the floor you lose your connectivity, which is a legal component of it."
Kay explained that this feature prevents a broker from, say, walking to the men's room to make a personal trade, benefiting from a trade he just made for a customer. Additionally, the issue was likely cloud-oriented, Kay said, so it's likely that spare devices were quickly passed out to those experiencing issues.
"Not having access for 5 minutes could be devastating. Who knows?" he said. "Someone might be able to point out that they lost half a billion dollars. But my sense is it might not be that mission-critical. ... It will come out in the pudding, though, whether anyone was majorly harmed by the outage."
Kay added that customers may have checked a box, somewhere along the way, exempting brokers from technology failure. Although he said this may not stop someone from suing, it'll hurt their case.
"There's someone who's the CIO of the NYSE who's in the hot seat for this," Kay said. "They may be holding their breath to see how it shakes out and what the customers say."