Ed Modla, Manager of Investor Services at OCC, the world's largest equity derivatives clearing organization, discusses his team's primary functions and responsibilities to better serve investors who use the U.S. exchange-listed options markets.
Where does the Investor Services team fall within OCC?
Investor Services is part of the OCC Industry Services team. We are a comprehensive options resource center that provides investors with free and unbiased information and education about the use of exchange-listed options as risk management solutions. We support all products traded on OCC's participant exchanges.
How does the Investor Services team help OCC's external audience?
We provide accurate information to all participants in the markets that OCC clears. The collaboration between our team and other OCC departments allows us to keep up-to-date on industry happenings, while keeping investors and market participants informed and educated by providing options education and answering any questions they may have about OCC-cleared products.
Additionally, Investor Services is in regular contact with representatives from our partner exchanges. This might be about a new product available for trading, a change in exchange rules or regulations, or settling any confusion regarding option premium amounts or available strike prices for a particular equity. Investor Services welcomes the opportunity to work with our colleagues at the exchanges; we have the mutual goal of increasing the awareness, knowledge and responsible use of exchange-listed equity options among a global audience of investors-including individuals, financial advisors and institutional managers.
How does your team collaborate within OCC?
On a typical day, our team resolves a variety of issues which may require interaction with a wide range of OCC departments, including Corporate Communications, Member Services, National Operations, Internet Services, Risk Systems, Business Development, Accounting, the Options Industry Council (OIC) and Collateral Services. On average, the Investor Services team resolves 35 to 40 questions/issues a day on a variety of topics. Each day, we expect to be confronted with unique and challenging questions and we take great pride in always responding with precise and accurate information in a timely manner.
What support does Investor Services provide to market participants?
Investor Services is always ready to help market participants gain a better understanding of the U.S. exchange-listed options industry. Our team, which consists of two senior specialists and myself, has over 75 years of combined experience in the financial markets with backgrounds in trading and/or brokerage. Industry professionals frequently rely on our services as a trusted and valuable resource.
Externally, our team is available by email and phone to answer questions from the entire options community including exchanges, trading firms, data vendors, financial advisors, and individual investors. We often get questions regarding the details of a contract adjustment, how the exercise and assignment process works, how to interpret OCC market data, or for more information about margin calculation methods.
How does your team work with the Options Industry Council?
Investor Services' team members are all internally certified as Options Industry Council (OIC) instructors. Our staff provides curriculum and instructor services for OIC programs including videos, podcasts, and interactive classes. We also create and deliver presentations at online webinars, live seminars, and industry events where we educate investors on topics which range from basic options terminology to more complex trading strategies and position management techniques.
In addition, we review and edit educational content for the OIC website. All OIC-produced information is reviewed to ensure OIC content includes a balance of the benefits and risks of options.
Our team also assists financial advisors and registered investment advisors (RIAs) to help them understand the risk/reward profile of positions held by their clients, help them fully understand the dynamics of a trade so they can better propose an idea to their clients, and provide them with available choices for how to use options to manage risk in their clients' portfolios.
Each team member is intimately familiar with the OIC educational website, www.optionseducation.org. The material offered on the site caters to every experience level and can provide a strong foundation of knowledge for a beginner to options as well as enhance the depth of understanding for a seasoned investor. Our team supports an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, where investors can ask any options related questions they have.
Providing information and education about options and options trading allows market participants to fully appreciate the versatility of options in hedging and managing their investments. Investor Services provides the options investor with the knowledge and trading tools to maximize the benefits of options and this knowledge can be used to take their trading and investment goals to the "next level".