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OCC Issues Paper on Central Clearinghouse Resiliency and Stability

Publishes “Participant Guide” to Provide Further Transparency into its Recovery and Orderly Wind-Down Plan

September 22, 2020
Chicago -

In the midst of record cleared contract volume, OCC, the world's largest equity derivatives clearing organization, today released a paper titled, Optimizing Incentives, Resilience and Stability in Central Counterparty Clearing, on central counterparty (CCP) clearing resiliency, recovery and resolution. The paper details OCC’s approach as a market utility, to risk and capital management, ensuring industry feedback is received and considered, enhancing operational resiliency, and providing greater transparency to market participants.

The paper can be found here on OCC's website.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • CCPs like OCC – which stand between buying and selling parties in trades and manage the risk to the market should one side of a transaction default – have worked extremely well over the course of their existence by underpinning stable markets to the benefit of the investing public during times of market stress.
  • With record-setting cleared contract volume so far in 2020, OCC is taking new steps to further enhance its financial and operational resiliency and respond to industry feedback, including previously established skin-in-the-game, and recently announced plans to seek regulatory approval to increase it.
  • CCPs must have an eye toward supporting the entire market ecosystem, balancing, and optimizing incentives toward maximum stability, security and continued functioning in regular times and particularly in times of stress.

“CCPs have served markets and investors with extraordinary consistency since their inception” said Craig Donohue, OCC Executive Chairman. “Policymakers recognized this in the wake of the financial crisis, expanding the use of central clearing and establishing enhancements to the already successful model.  I am proud of OCC’s transformation and our commitment to continuous improvement and engagement with market participants.”

“Over the past decade, CCPs like OCC have committed unprecedented resources to deliver the enhanced financial and operational resilience expected by policymakers, regulators, and market participants,” said John Davidson, OCC Chief Executive Officer. “Market participants can look no further than this year’s unprecedented market activity to conclude that such efforts are serving the markets well. Part of OCC’s commitment to delivering high quality, resilient clearance, settlement, and risk management services entails constantly evolving and improving to meet the expectations of all our stakeholders.”

Last month, OCC announced it would seek regulatory approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to amend its Capital Management Policy, which the SEC formally approved in January. It was within this Policy that OCC established its initial approach to funding skin-in-the-game. OCC subsequently proposed a floor for its level of persistent skin-in-the-game of $62 million, in line with the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) requirement of 25 percent of regulatory capital.

Continuing OCC’s efforts to provide greater transparency to market participants, the company is also releasing today the OCC Recovery and Orderly Wind-Down Plan Participant Guide to share enhanced details about what is (and is not) contained in the Recovery and Orderly Wind-Down Plan and when and how tools within the Plan would be implemented. The guide also can be found here on the OCC website.

“In addition to clearing record contract volume for our industry, we are delivering operational excellence to our market participants, resulting in lower cost of participation for our clearing member firms,” said Scot Warren, OCC Chief Operating Officer. “We believe the paper and the Participant Guide will provide greater insight into OCC’s operational and financial risk management practices and enhanced certainty relative to plans for recovery and wind-down scenarios.”

OCC has cleared more than 28 million contracts on average per day so far in 2020, a 60 percent increase over 2019. June, March and August are now the top three months by volume in OCC’s history, respectively, with June cleared volume reaching an industry record of 693 million contracts, up nearly 81 percent over the same month in the previous year.

OCC consistently reviews and considers input from market participants, including a paper released last year by a group of institutional investors and investment banks titled, A Path Forward for CCP Resilience, Recovery, and Resolution. This paper was the impetus for OCC to offer its perspective, as a market utility, on the evolution, strength, and resilience of CCPs.

About OCC

OCC is the world's largest equity derivatives clearing organization. Founded in 1973, OCC operates under the jurisdiction of both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a registered clearing agency and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as a Derivatives Clearing Organization. Named 2020 Best Clearing House – Equities by Markets Media for the third consecutive year, OCC now provides central counterparty (CCP) clearing and settlement services to 20 exchanges and trading platforms for options, financial futures, security futures, and securities lending transactions. More information about OCC is available at www.theocc.com.

This web site discusses exchange-traded options issued by The Options Clearing Corporation. No statement in this web site is to be construed as an endorsement, recommendation or solicitation to purchase or sell a security, or to provide investment advice. Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Prior to buying or selling an option, a person must receive a copy of the disclosure document, Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Individuals should not enter into option transactions until they have read and understood this document. To obtain copies, contact your broker, any exchange on which options are traded, or The Options Clearing Corporation, 125 S. Franklin Street, Suite 1200, Chicago, IL 60606 (investorservices@theocc.com).