Vanguard, Robinhood, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade users rankled by technical issues

Last modified August 31, 2020. Published August 31, 2020.

Mysterious technical issues flared up for several banks and fund managers Monday, with and Holding users seeing wildly inaccurate balances and Asset Management, and E* Financial having other problems.

Although it appears unclear whether the glitches were connected, all seemed to have occurred in the early morning hours and coincided with a surge in trading volume and volatility. The issues followed technical problems for and users in recent weeks.

Representatives for investment managers Vanguard and Charles Schwab and the latter’s subsidiary trading platform TD Ameritrade confirmed there were connectivity issues on Monday morning, and Robinhood’s customer support Twitter account acknowledged the problem. All of the companies have said the issues have been resolved. 

Robinhood users on Twitter reported huge drops in their balances, sometimes larger than the size of their portfolios. TD Ameritrade users reported the opposite issue, with users seeing inflated balances. Both Apple and Tesla split their stocks on Monday, and in at least some cases, TD Ameritrade users saw their number of shares multiply, while the value of each security stayed the same, which made user holdings appear to rocket in value.

Vanguard spokesperson Dana Grosser said the company was “experiencing intermittent connectivity issues impacting our websites, mobile apps, and phones” and has “no reason to believe client account security has been compromised.” Spokesperson Margaret Farrell of TD Ameritrade said clients experienced “high levels of slowness.” Vanguard, TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab and Robinhood all apologized for the issues.

According to outage information provider Down Detector, Robinhood, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade all sustained a spike in technical issues between 6:36 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. EDT, and Vanguard saw the same happen at 6:54 a.m. Ninety-one percent of Robinhood user problems were tagged as server connectivity issues by the technical glitch tracker, and the others were troubled mostly by login and website problems. The issues had largely tapered off by 11 a.m. 

E*TRADE and also experienced technical issue report spikes of a much smaller volume at around the same time.

New York Stock Exchange trading volume was up nearly 50% on Monday compared to the previous ten-day average, and volume was up around 16%. 

Menlo Park, California-based Robinhood, a fast-growing securities trading platform, is already under scrutiny from government regulators over technical problems it experienced in March, according to Bloomberg. 

Both the and the are looking into a full-day outage experienced by Robinhood on March 2, followed by shorter outages on March 3 and March 9. March 2 saw a surge in trading volume, as the Nasdaq, S&P, and Dow indices all had record increases amid pandemic-induced market volatility. 

FINRA fined Robinhood in December for violations related to how and to whom it routs customer trades. 

Malvern, Pennsylvania-based Vanguard, the world’s largest provider of mutual funds, had a different set of issues earlier this month, when its Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund appeared to lose 56% of its value and other funds showed similarly large tumbles due to a technical glitch.

Robinhood and E*TRADE did not return requests for comment in time for this article.