May 2012 Newsletter

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In This Issue

Industry Conference Ventures to Crescent City to Rebuild, Restore and Reinvest

The 30th Annual Options Industry Conference was held May 3-5 at The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. Led by NASDAQ OMX and organized by OCC, the conference proved to be a resounding success, attracting nearly 500 attendees and industry leaders who shared ideas on regulatory, compliance, technology and operational issues impacting the options industry.

Among the highlights: a content-rich agenda and line-up of speakers who introduced unique topics to the conference program and a Mardi Gras-themed parade down Canal Street. Also new this year was the inaugural Wealth Advisors Summit, which ran alongside the industry conference. The Summit offered continuing education credits and focused on varied financial services topics geared toward advisors.

The conference kicked off on Thursday with a welcome address from Eric Noll, Executive Vice President of NASDAQ, followed by the Exchange and Committee Updates. OCC representatives Carolyn Mitchell, Alan Grigoletto, Dan Busby and Joe Corcoran presented program updates and new initiatives for the coming year.

Friday began with opening remarks from Tom Wittman, Senior Vice President, NASDAQ, followed by welcoming remarks from Robert Greifeld, CEO of The NASDAQ OMX Group. Up next was the always popular Exchange Leaders Panel moderated by Joseph Gawronski, President and COO, Rosenblatt Securities Inc. Exchange representatives shared the latest happenings at their organizations, with the key topic of discussion being the growing number of options exchanges.

Moderated by Joe Gawronski of Rosenblatt Securities (far left), the Exchange Leaders Panel consisted of (left to right) Jeromee Johnson (BATS), Tony McCormick (BOX), Ed Provost (CBOE/C2), Gary Katz (ISE), Tom Wittman (NASDAQ), Steve Crutchfield (NYSE Amex Options) and Paul Finnegan (NYSE Arca Options).

Following the Exchange Leaders Panel, the Joseph W. Sullivan Options Industry Achievement Award was presented to Edward J. Joyce, former CBOE President and Chief Operating Officer, for his contributions to the growth and integrity of the U.S. options market. Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report delivered the keynote speech, and John Hague of McGladrey & Pullen, closed with an informative review on the regulatory, auditing and accounting changes impacting our industry.

OCC CEO Wayne Luthringshausen presented the 2012 Sullivan Award to Bill Brodsky who accepted on behalf of Edward J. Joyce, former CBOE President and COO.

Saturday started with a panel of wealth advisors who use options for their clients moderated by The Options Insider's Mark Longo and a discussion on cyber security with Anthony Bargar of Foreground Security. The morning sessions wrapped up with a panel on social media moderated by Jim Binder, OIC's Director of Public Relations. Panelists discussed the growth of social media in financial services, and the benefits and risks of communicating on social platforms in real time.

OCC/OIC Director of Public Relations Jim Binder moderated the Future of Social Communication panel discussion.

OIC and BATS Options Exchange co-sponsored a Voluntourism event on Friday, where more than 40 conference attendees spent the afternoon rebuilding houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The conference closed on Saturday with a memorable (and hot) afternoon at the 2012 Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Next year's industry conference is scheduled for April 24-26 (Wednesday – Friday) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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OIC Launches Redesigned Website

On March 31, The Options Industry Council (OIC) unveiled its redesigned website at, which features an updated design, improved navigation, expanded strategies section and social media integration. Visitors can register for access to industry-leading education, research and customized learning tools. The new website is a consolidation of three websites that previously targeted individual investors, financial advisors and institutional investors.

"Visitors can now access the same tools, classes, podcasts and videos, but in a more simplified way, which broadens their overall educational experience," says Denise Knabjian, Vice President Internet & Investor Services.

New features found on the website include a strategy section with dynamic filters, a greatly improved site search, simplified seminar registration and the introduction of multiple touch points where visitors can extend and enhance their online educational experience through dynamically suggested resources.

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From the Hill

With the near-constant disagreement between Democrats and Republicans, it is unlikely that Congress will accomplish a lot before the November elections. To that end, there are just a few items that must be reauthorized or extended in 2012. They include:

  • SAFETEA-LU, the Highway Bill, expires on June 30. A short-term extension was approved in March in order to prevent a gap in funding. Work continues on a long-term extension.
  • The Farm Bill expires in the fall. Because House conservatives disagree with current farm policy, it will be difficult to pass a long-term extension of the Farm Bill. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version, but another short-term extension seems likely.
  • The Bush-era tax cuts and extenders expire at the end of the year. Since neither party wants to be responsible for raising taxes on virtually all Americans, the tax cuts will likely be extended at some point during the lame-duck session after the November elections.
  • The Export-Import Bank must be reauthorized by May 31. The bank is divisive, with business groups supporting it as a cost-effective source for business loans, while many conservative lawmakers believe that the bank subsidizes businesses that should be competing on the open market instead of relying on a government program. It is still expected to be reauthorized because it turns a profit on the loans it guarantees.
  • The debt ceiling will also have to be increased by the end of the year. Expect this tough vote to be taken in the lame-duck session.

Congress will likely not take on much more than the above topics between now and November. The goal of both parties appears to be just keeping the government running and avoiding controversial issues until after the election.

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Joseph Corcoran Appointed New Head of Government Relations

It is with great pleasure that OCC welcomes Joseph Corcoran, First Vice President and Head of Government Relations, to its Washington, D.C. office. Corcoran comes to OCC from NYSE Euronext where he served as Chief Counsel in NYSE Regulation and the Office of Legal and Government Affairs. He brings with him in-depth knowledge of the regulatory process, specifically related to the options and derivatives industries. His background will quickly be put to task as OCC continues to work on implementing the multitude of Dodd-Frank-related rules put forth by the SEC and CFTC.

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OCC Board of Directors Welcomes New Members

Four additions to OCC's Board of Directors for 2012 are Steve Crutchfield, CEO of NYSE Amex Options LLC; Elizabeth K. King, Head of Regulatory Affairs, GETCO LLC; Kevin G. Russell, Managing Director, Head of Equities Trading for the Americas, Citigroup Global Markets Inc.; and Jonathan B. Werts, Managing Director, Global Execution Services, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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The information contained in this newsletter is for general information purposes only. Although every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information, OCC assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions. All materials pertaining to rules and specifications are made subject to and are superseded by the By-Laws and Rules of OCC.