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The Options Clearing Corporation Announces Start Of Industry Initiative To Streamline Processing Efficiency

CHICAGO, December 18, 2006 - The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) announced today that its Board of Directors has approved the plan to change the way options contracts are represented during back-office processing.

The updated plan, known as the Options Symbology Initiative, incorporates comments made by market participants over the spring and summer, and is expected to deliver the first process change early next year.

A committee of industry representatives—formed at the direction of the OCC Board of Directors—recommended the plan for replacing the alpha codes and fractional pricing currently used to represent listed options contracts with an explicit series key and decimal strike prices. The processing method that has been in use for the past 25 years poses a number of limitations in today's marketplace.

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 LEAPS® 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 is expected to conclude in November 2009. While the Symbology Committee is now working to provide more detail on the implementation plan, the first deliverable is scheduled for the end of January when the OCC and the exchanges distribute changes to record layouts.

The plan and other details on the Options Symbology Initiative—including industry comments on the plan—can be found at

The Symbology Committee that developed the plan was comprised of 40 individuals representing 25 firms, vendors and industry organizations—and represented both the business and technical sides of the industry.

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, OneChicago, NYSE Arca, Philadelphia Stock Exchange and Philadelphia Board of Trade. More information about OCC is available through its Web site at