OCC announced today it has received regulatory approvals to clear over-the-counter equity index options, bringing capital and operational efficiencies and enhanced customer protections to the equity derivatives marketplace.
OCC plans to launch its OTC S&P 500® equity index option clearing services in the second quarter following the completion of testing with market participants.
On January 9, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved a Securities Investor Protection Corporation rule change broadening the definition of "Standardized Options" under the Securities Investor Protection Act to include OTC options cleared by OCC. This approval enhances the protections afforded to customers in the event of a liquidation of their broker-dealer as standardized OTC options will now be subject to closeout or transfer in a SIPA proceeding.
Regulatory approvals also enable OCC to offer portfolio margining of listed and OTC positions that are held in a single account, which may result in margin offsets and lowering the overall cost of clearing. Additionally, OCC has received SEC approval for changes to its rules to reflect modifications to its margin model for longer tenor options. These options of at least three years, both listed and OTC, will be covered by enhancements to OCC's risk model in order to better reflect certain risks of longer-tenor options, strengthening risk management across the industry.
"Being the first clearing house in the United States to clear OTC equity index options is an exciting step for OCC," said Craig Donohue, Executive Chairman of OCC. "As the world's largest equity derivatives clearing house, this is a logical extension of our capabilities."
"OCC has been a leading innovator in the clearing and settlement of equity derivatives for more than 40 years," said Michael Cahill, President and CEO of OCC. "We are pleased to extend the protections of our financial guarantee and our central counterparty role to the OTC equity derivatives market."