(Updated March 2 with Vanguard comment)
The good folks at Gomez, Inc., a market research and consulting firm, forwarded some of their data about the performance of online brokerage web sites during yesterday's melt down and the news isn't pretty. Of the major online firms, response times plummeted during the final hour of the trading day as their web sites struggled to manage a rush of orders. Here's how long, in seconds, it took to get a response to a transaction on average from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. yesterday:
Think or Swim/20.447
Charles Schwab /43.123
Wells Fargo Brokerage/66.365
Banc of America Investment Services/81.671
Obviously, some of the biggest online brokers are going to be reviewing their systems today. For the sake of comparison,the average response times averaged from 4 to 22 seconds in the same hour on Monday.
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for Vanguard says the firm happened to be doing routine maintenance that day and had many of its servers off-line. "It was slow between 3-4, but everyone's transactions went through just fine," she says.