A technical glitch that shut down the New York Stock Exchange for more than three hours Wednesday is raising questions for Atlanta-based trading platform IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc., which bought the iconic market in 2013 in an $8.2 billion deal.
Many NYSE-listed Atlanta companies told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the outage had little to no effect on their share prices, largely thanks to the fact that the NYSE stocks are tradable on other online platforms.
But some said that ICE would face questions as to why it took so long to get the market back up and running after what the NYSE revealed Thursday to have been an issue stemming from a failed software update.
The NYSE quickly assured the public that the outage wasn’t the result of a cyber attack. President Tom Farley told Bloomberg Wednesday that going to its emergency backup system would have caused more disruption for traders than the glitch itself. He pointed out that the NYSE itself chose to suspend trading to fix the problem. The system was back online at 3:05 p.m., about an hour before the flurry of activity that surrounds the closing bell.
ICE executives were absent from media reports but were reportedly patched in by phone to the deliberations in New York. Mr. Farley and ICE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher were in touch with regulators. NYSE is expected to make a full report to the Securities Exchange Commission that could determine whether fines will be levied.
The Wall Street Journal reported that ICE cut 22 executives as it halved staff and sold assets in the wake of the acquisition, which caused some to wonder about the future of the physical NYSE trading floor. Spokespeople pointed to $80 million in technical upgrades to the trading floor and renovations to the building.
While a minor hiccup given what was happening around the world — China’s massive stock selloff and negotiations over Greece’s future in the euro zone — some analysts said the outage showed the dangers of the global economy’s dependence on technology. Others pointed to a “triumph of redundancy,” given that NYSE securities were traded all day on other markets.
Either way, it was a bad day for technology in the U.S.: United Airlines faced a technical issue that grounded flights, and the Wall Street Journal website went down in the morning.
Read thoughts from Georgia-based business professors on the ICE purchase of the NYSE and the future of digital trading here.