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The Options Clearing Corporation Announces Industry Initiative to Streamline Processing Efficiency, Opens Comment Period

CHICAGO, May 1, 2006 - The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) announced today that a committee of industry representatives has recommended a plan to change the way options contracts are represented during back-office processing. The method in use for the past 25 years poses a number of limitations in today's marketplace.

The committee - formed at the direction of the OCC Board of Directors - has recommended replacing the alpha codes and fractional pricing currently used to represent listed options contracts with an explicit series key and decimal strike prices.

When implemented, most options symbols will match the underlying security symbol, which will reduce corporate action symbol conversions, eliminate the need for wrap symbols and the LEAP rollover process, thereby reducing errors in front, middle and back office processes, while providing flexibility in new product development at the exchanges.

This multi-year effort would conclude in November 2009 under the recommended implementation plan. Industry participants are encouraged to provide input on the plan during comment period that runs from May 1, 2006 until August 29, 2006. The plan, and a form to submit comments, can be found at

The Symbology Committee that developed the plan was comprised of members from the six U.S. options exchange, the OCC, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Merrill Lynch, Interactive Brokers, Fortis/O'Connor & Co., Automatic Data Processing, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, the Securities Industry Association, the Securities Industry Automation Corporation and the Options Price Reporting Authority.

About OCC

OCC, founded in 1973, is the world's largest derivatives clearing organization and was the first clearinghouse 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, NYSE Arca, OneChicago, and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. More information about OCC is available through its Web site at