Australian trading system upgrade was not ready, report into outage finds

An independent review of the Australian stock exchange outage last November found that the bourse operator’s new trading system was not ready to go live, the country’s corporate regulator said on Monday.

The outage on Nov. 16 last year nearly wiped out an entire session and damaged the reputation of the bourse operator ASX Ltd (ASX.AX).

The independent review conducted by IBM Australia found that while the ASX met industry practices in 58 out of 75 of the capabilities assessed, it missed in 17.

The report found gaps in project testing and compliance that “did not meet accepted industry practices,” the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) said.

“The conclusion that the project was not ready for go-live is very disappointing,” Joe Longo, the ASIC chair said in a statement, referring to the ASX’s equity trading system upgrade.

IBM has made seven recommendations covering risk, governance, delivery, requirements, vendor management, testing and incident management.

“We acknowledge the findings in the report… the report does point to some important areas for improvement and we will address all of its recommendations,” the ASX Chief Executive Dominic Stevens said in a separate statement.

Stevens said the ASX is at an “advanced” stage of developing a plan to execute in the next 12 to 18 months with oversight by ASIC and the central bank.

A separate investigation into whether the ASX met its market licence obligations is still ongoing, the ASIC said.