Australia’s largest stock exchange suffers worst outage in more than a decade

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) went down for investors earlier this week.

Monday’s shutdown marked the longest in well over a decade for the country’s largest exchange.

“If a software issue has caused the outage, an exchange might well have a claim”

After opening for less than half an hour, a software glitch forced Monday’s session to close.

It occurred on the first day the ASX was debuting its updated trading system with US technology partner Nasdaq.

The exchange had been testing the system for over a year, and had run four dress rehearsals, according to The Trade News.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) weighed in on the outage. The regulator is currently looking into whether ASX met its license obligations with the software update.

Who is responsible?

The day-long downtime is the latest in a string of outages which have hit exchanges across the globe.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Deutsche Börse both suffered software glitches last year. Tokyo Stock Exchange experienced downtime earlier this year for the same reason, as did Euronext last month.

For New Zealand Stock Exchange, its recent outage was the result of a malicious cyberattack.

Elizabeth Meade, senior associate at law firm Cooke, Young and Keidan, says the exchange could face legal action from investors.

“It is possible that brokers and traders might have a claim against an exchange for its failure to provide continuity of service.

“Though proving loss can be difficult in these situations. We might also see exchanges themselves bringing claims.

“If a software issue has caused the outage, an exchange might well have a claim against the developer of that software or the provider.”

ASX said at 16:00pm local time on Monday that it could not re-open the market until Tuesday. It cited a software issue connected to trading multiple securities in a single order, which was causing inaccurate market data.

Dominic Stevens, the ASX’s chief executive, cites the exchange’s technology partner in his apology – though not by name.

“Notwithstanding the extensive testing and rehearsals, and the involvement of our technology provider, ASX accepts responsibility.”

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