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The Options Clearing Corporation Advances Towards Straight-Through Processing For Options

CHICAGO, April 8, 2003 - Marking a major advancement toward straight-through processing, The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) today announced that its new clearing system ENCORE, is now accepting for immediate processing trades sent during the day by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). It is OCC's goal to have all of the U.S. options exchanges submitting near real-time trades by the end of this year.

Previously, all options trades were processed after the close of trading. By processing trades during the day, OCC provides clearing members near real-time access to their options positions information.

"ENCORE's ability to clear options positions in near-real time marks the beginning of a new era for our industry," said Wayne P. Luthringshausen, OCC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Exchanges, firms and investors will all benefit because of the increased efficiencies and enhanced risk management capabilities that straight-through processing will provide our marketplace."

"CBOE is pleased to participate in this system enhancement which is a significant step toward straight- through processing," said Edward Joyce, CBOE President and Chief Operation Officer. "We look forward to working closely with OCC as other features of the ENCORE system are rolled out to members, firms and customers."

ENCORE, OCC's largest system development project ever, is a highly flexibly clearing system designed to readily adapt to changes in contract volume, product offerings and the increased use of the Internet in the derivatives industry. OCC is in the midst of implementing ENCORE, which has been gradually phased in since 2000. The project is expected to be completed in 2005.

About OCC

OCC, founded in 1973, is the largest clearing organization in the world for options and was the first clearing house to receive a 'AAA' credit rating from Standard & Poor's Corporation. In 2002, OCC's average daily options volume was 3.1 million contracts and average daily premium settlements were $1.1 billion. Operating under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, OCC is jointly owned by the American Stock Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, International Securities Exchange, Pacific Exchange and Philadelphia Stock Exchange. More information about OCC is available through its Web site at