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  1. #1
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    [EN] Bloomberg outage shows bank weakness: heavy reliance on few fallible systems

    17 April 2015 | By Richard Beales



    Bloomberg’s global outage on Friday highlights yet another banking sector weakness. The financial data network’s downtime may have been a problem only for the richest fraction of the top 1 percent. But it prompted enough worry for the Bank of England to remind banks that it’s there as a lender of last resort, raising questions about traders’ heavy reliance on a few fallible systems.

    There’s a frivolous side to the woes of Bloomberg LP, the private company whose terminals not only provide financial information and analytics to many in the financial sector but also function as the trading world’s most entrenched social network. The Wall Street Journal noted that bankers suddenly had to use telephones in the absence of Bloomberg’s messaging system, making trading floors noisier than usual. And Twitter revealed that denizens of the City of London, in the time zone most affected, were flocking to the enclave’s pubs.

    But Britain’s Debt Management Office felt compelled to reschedule a planned regular sale of 3 billion pounds of Treasury bills. And the BoE and other regulators found the outage significant enough to merit comment. That’s a sign of genuine concern – however slight – about systemic fallout.

    The dark Bloomberg terminals seem to have affected some stock trading, too. But the impact might have been far bigger in the midst of a market slump, say, or on a Monday replete with merger news rather than on a relatively calm Friday.

    Stock exchanges have come under fire over technological glitches like the one at Nasdaq that seriously disrupted the first day of trading in Facebook stock in 2012 and cost UBS alone hundreds of millions of dollars. It may be that third-party information and communication platforms need more scrutiny. As several smug Twitter users pointed out, there are alternatives to Bloomberg, including competing products provided by Thomson Reuters, parent of Breakingviews, and Markit. Of course, none of these are immune to problems.

    Whatever Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and others can do to strengthen their technology – and whether or not Friday’s outage boosts Bloomberg’s rivals – banks need to consider weaning their people off specific systems and providing alternative and backup options beyond just old-fashioned phone lines. That’s something to chat about over an early pint in the City.
    http://www.breakingviews.com/bloombe...194663.article

  2. #2
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    Bloomberg's financial terminals went down around the world

    Bloomberg has over 325,000 terminal subscriptions globally

    Disruption causes U.K. to postpone buyback of government debt

    By
    Josie Cox in London and
    Anjani Trivedi in Hong Kong
    Updated April 17, 2015 11:19 a.m. ET

    Bloomberg’s financial terminals went down around the world Friday, leading to major disruptions for traders who rely heavily on the data machines to analyze and deal securities.

    The blackout, which started shortly after European markets opened, also caused the U.K. to postpone a scheduled multibillion buyback of government debt. The £3 billion ($4.5 billion) tender was rescheduled for the afternoon.

    “Significant but not all parts of our network experienced a disruption today. There is no indication at this point that this is anything other than an internal network issue,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
    Bloomberg’s financial terminals went down globally, causing disruption for traders who rely on the data machine to analyze and trade securities. Josie Cox joins MoneyBeat.

    “We have restored service to most customers and are making progress in bringing all parts of the system back online,” the company, which is run by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, added. The cause of the outage wasn't immediately apparent.

    In Singapore, regulators were in touch with banks and market participants to ensure markets were working correctly, people familiar with the matter said. A spokesman for the Bank of England said its operations weren’t affected by the outage.

    Bloomberg’s data-and-information terminals are used by bond, stock, commodities and foreign-exchange traders to deal, but another key component is the electronic chat system through which many market participants communicate. That system was also affected by the disruptions Friday.

    Peter Gorra, a senior foreign-exchange trader at BNP Paribas in New York, said he was unable to trade currencies on the terminal for several hours.

    “[We] went ‘old school’ and picked up the phone,” Mr. Gorra said. “It was an orderly market where people didn’t panic.”

    Several traders said they had postponed buying and selling bonds until after the weekend as a result of the outage. Terminals also serve as a directory for contact information and many said the outage had severely slowed down all processes.

    Bloomberg has over 325,000 terminal subscriptions globally, costing about $20,000 a year, and Louis Gargour, the chief investment officer at London-based asset manager LNG Capital, said they had “become vital to the sharing of information across regions and counterparties”.

    “A global outage like this is systemically important to markets all around the world,” he said, adding that during the outage he had been “flying blind” and “catching up on admin. Because there is little else that we can do.”

    Anthony Cronin, a Treasury bond trader at Société Générale said it is “very concerning how much financial markets rely on [Bloomberg] for the information necessary to conduct their business”.

    Jeremy Batstone-Carr, chief economist at Charles Stanley in London, meanwhile, said the outage was also one of the drivers of a weaker market on Friday.

    “Sentiment is very brittle at the moment and we’re all on the lookout for a reversal of some of the rallies that we’ve seen in stock and bond markets,” he said. “If we’re not able to access information to see what’s happening, we become very vulnerable and feel nervous.”

    European stock indexes fell more than 1% on Friday. U.S. markets also sold off sharply.

    Big banks and their investor clients have become increasingly uncomfortable with the ubiquitous grip Bloomberg has on the instant-messaging service—as well as the closed nature of the data company’s system—and have been on the lookout for alternative services that allow users to customize it as they see fit.

    In late 2013, financial data provider Markit rolled out a rival open messaging platform , which in 2014 was bought by instant-messaging software company Symphony Communication Services LLC.

    News Corp ’s Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, competes with Bloomberg on financial news.


    http://www.wsj.com/articles/bloomber...lly-1429262782

  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
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    Bloomberg Terminals Suffer Widespread Failures




    The company said hardware and software failures were to blame, but added that service had been “fully restored.”

    LONDON — Bloomberg L.P.’s data terminals experienced failures on Friday that appeared to stretch from Hong Kong to London, agitating traders who depend on the company’s signature product for market data, news and its popular chat service.

    Bankers and traders in Europe and Asia said that the terminals went down Friday morning in Europe, about an hour before the end of the Asian trading day. Some banks reported that their terminals were coming back online in London by midmorning.

    The company said that it was investigating the cause of the cutoff, but that there was “no indication at this point that this is anything other than an internal network issue.”
    Continue reading the main story

    Actually, this is kind of blissful. #bloombergdown #bloomberg
    — Ian Shepherdson (@IanShepherdson) April 17, 2015

    In the latest statement, Bloomberg said that service had been fully restored.

    It attributed the problems to “a combination of hardware and software failures in the network, which caused an excessive volume of network traffic,” which led to customer disconnections.

    “We discovered the root cause quickly, isolated the faulty hardware, and restarted the software,” the statement said. “We are reviewing our multiple redundant systems, which failed to prevent this disruption.”

    The terminals, known as Bloomberg Professional, are used by more than 315,000 finance professionals around the world, and they are a vital part of the daily ebb and flow of financial markets. The machines, which cost subscribers an average of more than $20,000 a year, provide a vast majority of the company’s $9 billion in annual revenue.

    Last year, Michael R. Bloomberg returned to the company he founded after serving three terms as the mayor of New York City.

    Many larger banks and financial companies have a variety of backup systems as well as alternative data suppliers, like products from Thomson Reuters, in place to avoid a major disruption.
    Continue reading the main story

    Traders/sales reverting to Reuters dealing platform for prices & transactions after Bloomberg terminal went down, #FX strategist tells me
    — Sri Jegarajah (@cnbcSri) April 17, 2015

    But in an age when data and money are virtually synonymous, the loss of a main data feed has consequences. The shutdown prompted the postponement of some bond sales, including of about 3 billion pounds, or about $4.46 billion, in short-term debt issued by the British Treasury.

    The Debt Management Office in London said it briefly postponed the sale Friday morning because of “ongoing technical issues” with a third-party platform supplier, which it later confirmed was Bloomberg.

    The auction of the Treasury bonds, ranging from one month to six months in length, was rescheduled for Friday afternoon in London as Bloomberg services resumed for most customers.

    One sales trader, based in Geneva, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because his company did not authorize him to give interviews, said the problems there started around 9 a.m.
    Continue reading the main story

    Bloomberg being down has finally made me understand how teenagers feel when Facebook crashes.
    — Philip O'Sullivan (@pdosullivan) April 17, 2015

    The trader’s company has a few dozen Bloomberg terminals and uses them mainly for buying and selling exchange-traded funds and credit and for research. None of the firm’s terminals were able to connect for about two hours and 20 minutes but were working later in the day, he said.

    When asked what problems the failures created, the trader said: “Problems? Simple: No prices. Nothing. So you can’t do anything at all.”

    He said that simply switching to a Thomson Reuters terminal was not an option for some. “People are used to going through ′Berg, and so it’s confusing for a lot of us who never use Reuters,” he said.
    Continue reading the main story

    Oxygen! I need oxygen! #bloombergdown pic.twitter.com/mIYOA7xMAl
    — Ian Shepherdson (@IanShepherdson) April 17, 2015

    In Hong Kong, bankers reported that their terminals crashed not long after 3 p.m., well before the 4 p.m. close of trading on the local stock exchange.

    “This is sort of a big deal,” one Hong Kong banker, whose company’s policy did not authorize him to speak publicly, said during the failure. “What I miss is the instant Bloomberg chats, which I rate higher than trading or data feeds. The fact is, Bloomberg connects 100 percent of the Street, and all that human intelligence is what makes markets hum.”

    Another employee of a Hong Kong financial firm said that traders had resorted to using “old-fashioned emails” to communicate.

    “Longest it’s been out that any of us can recall,” he added, referring to the service disruption.

    By 9:30 a.m. in London, some banks were reporting that their terminals were back online.

    #Bloomberg is alive in Paris but very slow ! pic.twitter.com/a97Mqx0CAI
    — Nicolas de ZALUSKI (@NicoladeZaluski) April 17, 2015

    Chad Bray reported from London, and Neil Gough from Hong Kong.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/18/bu...ls-outage.html

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