Schwab Site Temporarily Malfunctions, Thwarting Traders

Parts of the Charles Schwab Web site and phone system were temporarily knocked out or running slowly Thursday, leading to long waits for clients trying to access their accounts or execute trades, CNBC Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Jim Goldman has learned.

The glitches are apparently affecting both retail and institutional investors who hold accounts with the discount brokerage. Schwab returned the site to normal operation Thursday afternoon.

Greg Gable, a Schwab spokesman, said "human error" caused the problem.

Trouble began as engineers at the brokerage worked Thursday to add capacity to Schwab's servers in response to unusually heavy trading volume, the company said.

Total volume on the New York Stock Exchange reached 2.2 billion shares by 2:40 pm New York time Thursday, compared with a 30-day average of 1.95 billion shares for a full session on the Big Board.

The glitches didn't hurt Schwab shares , which rose about 3 percent Thursday.

Schwab currently serves about 3 million retail investor accounts.

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