Canadian stock trading platforms overwhelmed by retail frenzy, frustrating investors

TORONTO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Popular Canadian stock platforms experienced delays in processing trades on Thursday while some, including those operated by the big banks, suffered intermittent outages as they scrambled to accommodate a spike in volumes.

The surge in activity follows a trading frenzy that temporarily took down major U.S. platforms this week.

While many U.S. trading platforms such as Robinhood, Interactive Brokers and E-trade have restricted trading in stocks including GameStop, Blackberry and AMC Entertainment Holdings, many Canadian counterparts have made no such changes.

That has seen Canadian retail investors continuing to pile in, but many have been left frustrated by technical problems caused by increased volumes and volatility.

The most hotly traded U.S. stocks declined in the wake of the U.S. trading platform restrictions, but pared some of their early losses on Thursday as retail investors from Canada and elsewhere continued to buy.

Many investors took to Twitter to vent their frustrations.

“How come i was able to purchase other stocks no problem but my AMC and ‘popular’ stocks are pending? i bought them at the same time. seems like trying to slow it down?,” wrote one.

Wealthsimple, owned by Power Corp, has seen double the trading volumes it normally gets and has had a 50% increase in sign-ups this week, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

Wild price swings led Wealthsimple to reject or mark some trades as pending, it said on Twitter.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, responding to complaints of delays in processing trades, said on Twitter that stock and exchange-traded fund orders may be subject to review and additional processing time due to market volatility.

Toronto-Dominion Bank put in place “precautionary measures” to restrict short selling and options trading for some securities, a spokesman said.

Questrade reported technical issues earlier this week but responded to customers complaining of difficulties accessing its platform on Twitter on Thursday by saying that it was experiencing no problems at its end. (Reporting By Nichola Saminather; editing by Richard Pullin)