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The Options Clearing Corporation Announces Record Clearing Fee Refund of Nearly $50 Million for 2005

CHICAGO, March 1, 2006 - The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) announced today that its Board of Directors recently approved a refund of $49,648,466 to Clearing Members for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, their largest ever clearing fee refund.

OCC annually refunds all revenues in excess of operational expenses. For the years ended Dec. 31, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001, this refund amounted to $47.4 million, $33.1 million, $14.1 million and $26.7 million, respectively. OCC's cumulative refunds and discounts since 1974 total more than $435.4 million.

"The dramatic rise in trading volume - including last year's record options volume exceeding 1.5 billion contracts - has allowed us to continue to cut fees while providing service enhancements for our business partners," said Michael Cahill, OCC President and Chief Operating Officer. "We are very proud to be able to provide our customers world-class risk management, clearance and settlement services at a reasonable cost."

In addition to the refund, OCC also provided its members $58,122,275 in fee discounts in 2005. Clearing fees have been lowered three times over the past year and a half, the most recent being June 2005 which dropped the fee 29 percent for most trades. The discount was most notable for trades between one and 500 contracts, which account for approximately 75 percent of OCC's cleared contracts.

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