This story is interesting. BATS is the third-largest stock exchange in the USA. It tried to have an IPO on Friday. It was a high-profile flop.

When a stock is listed for trading, one exchange is chosen for the listing, although shares may trade anywhere.  For example, Coca-Cola (KO) is listed on the NYSE, but shares may trade anywhere.

BATS chose to list the shares for their IPO on their own exchange.

Trading was supposed to start on Friday.  Unfortunately, BATS’ computers didn’t work properly.  There was a surge of orders to BATS for the IPO.  After their server couldn’t handle the load, they halted trading.  They also rescinded their IPO!

This quote was interesting:

The software that failed Friday “was an area that was tested very rigorously over months,” Mr. Ratterman said. The software had a bug in handling orders the way they came in, he said: “That combination hadn’t been seen in the hundreds of tests we’d run before this.”

According to that quote, the reason for the flop was that BATS had defective software.  There was a lot of volume due to the BATS IPO.  This caused a previously-unnoticed bug to crash their server.

I recently worked at a large financial institution.  I did QA on a big new project.  I found lots of obscure bugs in their code.  For example, they weren’t properly calculating coupon dates and accrued interest for Treasury bonds.  “February 28″ plus 6 months is not “August 28″, it’s “August 31″.  That’s one type of obscure bug I found.

BATS has offices in NYC.  If they really wanted to, they probably could have hired me!

Most large financial institutions focus on hiring a lot of mediocre people, rather than hiring people who really know their stuff.  People who are really productive don’t fit into the dysfunctional financial institutions.  If BATS had hired one high-performing programmer, they might have avoided their IPO flop.

The BATS IPO was a miserable failure.  The reason was a software bug.  That’s one example of someone losing a ton of money due to bad software.

6 Responses to BATS Failed IPO

  1. Anonymous Coward March 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    >focus on hiring a lot of mediocre people, rather than hiring people who really know
    >their stuff.

    I’ve wrung my hands many times over the way corporations waste the talent of humans.

    Just recently I was speaking to a big company recruiter. Recruiters seem to get in the way more than help. As the recruiter was in the way, I couldn’t actually find out what the jobs are about, what they are looking for or what exactly their lengthy testing will and won’t cover. As I couldn’t get any sensible answers or any sensible decision making, I couldn’t go ahead and apply. If the recruiter was gone, I would have been able to talk to the staff or the hiring manager.

    The situation presented to me was go through lengthy testing spread over more than 1 day and then at the end of it, you might find out what the job is about. Personally I would like to find out what things are about first!

  2. Anonymous Coward March 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    In the UK we have the National Health Service, which is funded by taxes.

    David Cam-Moron (the British Prime Minister who seized power with only 20% of the votes!) promised before the election to leave the NHS budget untouched.

    He was being true only at the technical level. Now with the proposed NHS bill that the cowardly LibDems are backing (with some changes), the same taxpayer money will be instead funneled to private companies provided health services.

    So the NHS is now a way to give money to your friends.

    The man (maybe in a separate video) was also complained about cash for dinners/influence (bribery).

  3. Anonymous Coward March 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    > You didn’t listen to that video carefully. He was arguing *AGAINST* government budget

    There are no government cuts. There are no tax cuts. Tax is going up.

    Instead of taxpayer money going to the National Health Service, the same taxpayer money will go to a private company.

    Thanks for the nice expensive hospital equipment!

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