Internet bank Egg has been forced to overhaul its share dealing service after a server connection problem temporarily put it out of action.
Egg's Xest share dealing service was down for an hour at the start of trading last Friday after its NT server was unable to link to market makers for "live" equity quotations.
The problem was compounded because Xest's contingency plan used the same sign-on to access the service. This forced Xest staff to create an alternative sign-on and restart the server.
The service failure is particularly embarrassing to Egg as it comes less than two months after it launched the supposedly 24-hour share dealing service.
Online share and fund-dealing services are among the fastest-growing markets in the financial services sector, and Egg's server connection problem is likely to alarm other London traders. About 70% of trading firms, including Merrill Lynch, use Primark servers and information services similar to those used by Egg.
Mac Anderson, owner of Xest, said it had received no complaints from customers and had created a new back-up procedure in case the electronic link ever failed again.
Richard Martin, manager of real-time marketing for Primark, said the problem appeared to stem from an invalid password and was not due to a technical problem with the Primark server and information link.
"There are no technical problems or hardware issues whatsoever," he said. "The problem seems to be with a series of wrong-IDs which were used to log-on. We provide clients with trial IDs that are not valid after a certain time."