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The Options Clearing Corporation Continues To Lower Clearing Fees As Trading Volume Rises

CHICAGO, June 8, 2005 - The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) announced today that it is lowering its clearing fees for the third time since April 2004, with this latest move dropping the fee 29 percent for most trades.

The OCC Board of Directors has decided to further reduce clearing fees for options from the discounted fee schedule currently in place as a result of the record contract volume experienced through the first five months of 2005.

The new fee schedule, which will reduce the base discounted fee from $.07 per contract to $.05 per contract, will be implemented as of the July 1, 2005 trade date and will remain in place until further action by the Board.

"We hope that this fee discount will be beneficial to both our Clearing Members and their customers and will translate into even greater volumes throughout the year for the marketplaces we serve," said OCC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wayne Luthringshausen.

This fee reduction is the third since April 1, 2004, bringing clearing fees to about half of what they were at the beginning of last year. Additionally, OCC annually provides its Clearing Members with a clearing fee refund once OCC operational expenses are met. The 2004 refund was the largest at more than $47.4 million.

Underlying the discounts is the dramatic growth in trading volume, which saw an annual record of more than 1 billion contracts traded in 2004. Through the end of May this year, volume is 15 percent better than at the same point last year. Three of the five months this year have also set new monthly trading volume records.

Following is a schedule of the new fees compared to the current fee schedule:

Contract Trade Level
(Number of contracts per trade)
Current Fee
(Per contract)
New Fee
(Per contract)
1-500 $.07 $.05
501-1000 $.06 $.04
1001-2000 $.05 $.03
Greater than 2,000 $95.00 per trade $55.00 per trade

"As with the previous reductions, this discount is most notable for trades between 1-500 contracts, which account for approximately 75 percent of the trades that are cleared by OCC," said Michael Cahill, OCC President and Chief Operating Officer. "The combination of the discounts and refund for these trades will result in a net cost per contract of less than four cents."

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. Operating under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, OCC provides clearing and settlement services for the American Stock Exchange, the Boston Options Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, CBOE Futures Exchange, International Securities Exchange, OneChicago, Pacific Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange and Philadelphia Board of Trade. More information about OCC is available through its Web site at www.optionsclearing.com.