From the Glitch Watch: Deja Vu All Over Again in Tokyo Major Malfunction

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The crash of your gazillion-dollar trading system — Again? Again! — makes the news. Except on your corporate communications Web site. Is this a best practice in crisis communications?

From my standing Google News Alert on one of the most interesting words in the English language, “glitch”: Systems glitch hits TSE trading (Finextra).

Ouch. Some historical background:

In November 2005 the TSE suffered a systems crash that halted trading for more than four hours, which was later blamed on Fujitsu. Just two week’s later the TSE’s computer systems failed to cancel a mistaken order from a fat-fingered Mizuho trader to sell 610,000 shares for one yen, instead of one share for Y610,000.

¥610,000.

Furthermore in January 2006 the Tokyo exchange was was [sic] forced to close trading early after its system was unable to cope with a surge in sell orders.

I took detailed notes on the incident, but they are all in the MySQL database from the offline first version of The New Market Machines, and living on a storage brick somewhere that I need to get organized one of these days.

Following a major system malfunction, sober reflection and heads rolling:

Following these incidents TSE said in 2006 that it was investing around US$529 million on overhauling its Fujitsu-built trading technology.

See also

But — as Pee Wee Herman says to the waitress who dreams of traveling to Paris, “Let’s talk about your big but” — and however:

But after inviting financial technology vendors to tender for the contract to overhaul the technology, the TSE eventually awarded the deal to Fujitsu.

And whose idea was that? File under “rewarding failure”? Top story on the exchange’s English-language Web site:

… Tokyo Stock Exchange, Inc. and Japan Securities Dealers Association have established an “Electronic Voting Platform for Foreign and Institutional Investors,” [sic] and started operation of the platform from companies with 2005 December year-end [?]. Currently over 230 companies have already agreed to participate in the platform.

“Currently … already” is a pleonasm. Both mean the same thing as “to date.”

Electronic proxy voting is an interesting subject. The SEC starting mulling it in late 2006, because Chairman Cox is just wild about those Internets. It posted this summary of a forum on rulemaking for e-proxies in May 2007.

The word “security” does not get used, except as referring to

a fungible, negotiable interest representing financial value … broadly categorized into debt and equity securities.

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