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The U.S. Options Industry Moves Closer To Consolidating Options Processing Symbols

CHICAGO, October 23, 2007 - The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) and the U.S. options exchanges have achieved another key milestone in the Options Symbology Initiative (OSI) with the release of implementation plans for the record layout changes that take effect June 30, 2008.

The OSI is an industry plan to change the way options contracts are represented in trade and post-trade processing. 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 current processing method that has been in use for the past 25 years poses a number of limitations in today's marketplace.

The plans released this month explain the way OCC and the Exchanges will supply and accept OSI compliant data values in new record layouts for internal testing efforts by their direct constituents. The data will be available on production data feeds from this date forward and firms may use the remainder of 2008 to conduct system readiness testing.

When the OSI is fully 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 is expected to conclude in November 2009. The website,, is the best source for market participants—and all interested parties—to keep up-to-date on the initiative, and to provide feedback as the OSI progresses.

The Symbology Committee is comprised of individuals representing more than 25 firms, vendors and industry organizations—representing both the business and technical sides of the industry. The OCC acts as coordinator of the OSI.

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