Shortly after the open on December 7, 2020, Interactive Brokers, a platform that is typically resilient and crash-proof, had major issues. Customers of Interactive Brokers started complaining on Twitter and posting reports to DownDetector very early in the morning, peaking at 9:30 AM Eastern Time, saying they were unable to log in to their accounts. The problems were traced to a data storage system operated by a third party vendor.
Interactive Brokers is not alone today: other brokers listed on Downdetector reports include Robinhood, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab. There were no outages reported at E*TRADE, Merrill Edge, or Vanguard.
The IBKR Twitter feed acknowledged the problems at 9:00 AM Eastern, with a brief tweet saying, "We are experiencing technical difficulties and we are working to restore services." At 10:15 AM Eastern, a post detailing the issues declared, "We have experienced a significant failure in multiple segments of a highly resilient data storage system. We have engaged the vendor for analysis and recovery. Many services have already been restored and the remaining services are expected to be available promptly."
In an email, IBKR's Director of Media Relations, Kalen Holliday, said, "We recognize the dislocation this has caused to our clients, and express our apologies." Clients were not mollified, however, continuing to complain about the inability to login and manage positions during a fast-moving market.
The firm's system status page reported at 1:42 PM Eastern, "Systems are returning to normal functionality," but continued to indicate that there were problems. Downdetector continued to report outages and login issues as of 1:30 PM Eastern, but the number of issues is declining.
This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn more.