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THE OPTIONS CLEARING CORP. RECEIVES 'AAA' CREDIT RATING

 CHICAGO, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Options Clearing Corp. (OCC) today announced that it has received a AAA' credit rating from Standard & Poor's Corp. This marks the first time that any clearinghouse in the world has received a AAA' rating.
 OCC is jointly owned by the American Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers, the New York Stock Exchange, the Pacific Stock Exchange and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. OCC is the issuer and obligor for all securities options registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and traded on these U.S. securities markets.
 The AAA' rating issued by S&P relates to OCC's capacity to fulfill its obligations as counterparty for options trades. Because worldwide derivative markets are becoming increasingly sensitive to counterparty risk, the AAA' rating is extremely meaningful to the U.S. options markets.
 Wayne P. Luthringshausen, OCC's chairman and chief executive officer, stated, "OCC and all of our exchanges are extremely pleased about the message both in the U.S. and abroad that the AAA' credit rating conveys. As worldwide concerns escalate regarding counterparty credit risk, market participants seek the protection associated with the clearinghouse guarantee for listed options transactions. With the AAA' rating, the quality of this guarantee is now readily apparent."
 In its announcement (see attached), S&P stated, "The rating reflects the protection afforded both by the matched book' nature of OCC's operation -- which neutralizes market risk associated with volatile option pricing -- and by the collateral requirements and other financial backups which OCC utilizes to insure financial integrity. It is S&P's judgment that OCC's risk management policies and practices are sufficiently strong, not only to minimize financial risk under normal market conditions but also to provide conservative credit protection under highly volatile conditions."
 S&P went on to say, "The regulatory scrutiny to which OCC is subject helps insure that the prudent financial policies on which the organization's triple- A' rating is based will continue in force as the options markets evolve in the future."
 S&P Ratings Group today released the following:
 OPTIONS CLEARING CORP. ASSIGNED AAA' FIN PROG RTG BY S&P
 NY -- S&P CreditWire 1/19/93 -- S&P assigns its triple- A' financial programs rating to The Options Clearing Corp. (OCC).
 OCC is the clearing house for securities options traded on U.S. securities markets, and the rating addresses OCC's ability to meet obligations to its clearing members arising from these option contracts.
 The clearing members, typically securities brokers, settle independently with their customers, and the rating does not address credit risks affecting the ultimate holders of these options. The rating reflects the protection afforded both by the "matched book" nature of OCC's operation -- which neutralizes market risk associated with volatile option pricing -- and by the collateral requirements and other financial backups which OCC utilizes to insure financial integrity. It is S&P's judgment that OCC's risk management policies and practices are sufficiently strong, not only to minimize financial risk under normal market conditions but also to provide conservative credit protection under highly volatile conditions. As the issuer and obligor for all SEC-registered securities options traded on U.S. securities markets, OCC is integral to an increasingly important sector of the U.S. financial economy. The regulatory scrutiny to which OCC is subject helps insure that the prudent financial policies on which the organization's triple- A' rating is based will continue in force as the options markets evolve in the future, S&P said. -- CreditWire
 (Contact: at S&P Ratings Group communications dept., Mark Bachman 212-208-1616, David Kogan, 212-208-1589)
 -0- 01/19/93
 /CONTACT: at OCC, John C. Hiatt, executive vice president of Options Clearing Corp., 312-322-2090/


CO: Options Clearing Corp. ST: Illinois IN: FIN SU: RTG

AH -- NY080 -- 6470 01/19/93 15:03 EST
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