A rush of new millennium registration activity clogged the NASD's Web-based CRD system, launched this past August.
The combination of heavy traffic, particularly during the first week of 2000, along with existing glitches combined to cause numerous registration delays.
"The first week of the year was horrid," says Maria Montagnino, president of the Association of Registration Managers. "It's getting better, but it was completely frustrating,"
The implementation of the Web-based system was "at best, second rate," says another compliance official at a New York-based national firm. "I haven't spoken to anyone who disagrees with me."
The flurry of activity after the first of the year was the problem, according to many. As it had in prior years, the CRD system closed to certain activity from Dec. 23 until Jan. 3. That led to the wave of electronic filings for state license requests, renewals and exam dates that sank the young Web-based system. Additionally, filings may have been heavier than before because some firms held back until Y2K concerns dissipated.
At the start of 2000, users were receiving a constant stream of error messages and busy signals, or were booted off in the middle of a session. Some firms say they were lucky to process two to five registration requests a day.
In early January, the NASD extended the system's hours of operation, keeping it up from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., a move that helped but didn't necessarily win many fans. "You do what you have to do, but no one really wants to be doing this at 6 in the morning," Montagnino says.