Some clients of online brokerage T.D. Ameritrade Holding Corp. were unable to log into their accounts during Thursday's market slide.
With the Dow Jones industrial average and other major indexes exceeding 3 percent declines, the company posted the following message on the site: "We are having technical difficulties that may result in limited access to your account. We are working to correct this problem as quickly as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience."
A representative of T.D. Ameritrade did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press. But customers expressed frustration with the problem, posting numerous messages on social networking websites.
Nick Jackson, a customer from the Phoenix area, said in an interview he couldn't get on for about 30 minutes. When he called the company's customer service line, he was given an access code to another site.
"By the time I could get somebody on the phone, I was already down about $2,000," Jackson said.
Morningstar analyst Michael Wong said all of the online brokers had similar problems during the sudden market plunge on May 6.
Wong said for casual customers, the issue might not be a problem. But "they might stand the chance of losing customers who are semi-professional traders or day traders," he said. "This is their livelihood."
If customers feel they can't rely on their brokerage, they are likely to look elsewhere for a more reliable platform, Wong said.
TD Ameritrade shares fell 68 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $17.73 in afternoon trading. The stock has changed hands between $16.45 and $21.30 in the past 52 weeks.
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