Yesterday saw the CBOE struggling to begin its trading day as computer issues repeatedly delayed the exchange’s open. TD Ameritrade’s Steve Quirk said the outage was essentially a “non-event” for retail investors given that the bulk of the products traded at the CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) can be accessed through other venues. That doesn’t however, apply to the home of the volatility index, or VIX one of the few trading options that was truly affected.
“Not being able to trade the VIX and SPX is a big deal,” said Mark Sebastian, chief operating officer of Option Pit, which provides tools for stock-options traders.
“Unfortunately, all the traders that are there to provide liquidity were here this morning, but because of the evolution of electronic trading, customers couldn’t trade in and out of their positions this morning on the CBOE, which is pretty sad,” said Gavin Farley, an options trader for CMZ Trading, who works in the S&P options pit.
“We are fully functional after resolving some technology problems this morning,” Edward Provost, executive vice president and chief business development officer at CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) said from Vegas. He repeatedly insisted that this had nothing to do with an attack but was a result of a simple “software glitch.”.
The failings of the system at CBOE was just the latest chapter in a spate of problems that have raised concerns about the overall unpredictable nature of complex computer networks ultimately charged with running all of the United States’ financial markets. Today’s outage also shone light on an exchange that would prefer not to have attention brought to it, due to SEC investigators scrutinizing whether officials charged with regulation on the exchange are getting a “little too close” to a number of its customers.
The bigger exchanges have their gripes with alternative trading venues, “but when they go down it’s nice to have those,” added Steve Quirk. Somewhat strangely, shares of CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) were up 0.3 percent on the day.
Rumors suggest that the delays caused a comical display as high-strung traders stared blankly at their smartphones while debating the merits of leaving the floor for the first time, in order to take in restaurants they’ve read about but never visited.