| BOCA RATON, Fla., March 12
BOCA RATON, Fla., March 12 The Options Clearing
Corp., which guarantees all stock options traded on U.S.
exchanges, is making progress on plans to begin backing trades
made in the over-the-counter equity derivatives market, a top
clearinghouse official said on Friday.
Among the first contracts could be variance swaps, used by
hedge funds and other speculators to bet on swings in stock
indexes, and "vanilla" options that are more standardized than
many off-exchange contracts, OCC Executive Vice President Mike
McClain said at the Futures Industry Association's annual
Global clearinghouses are rushing to set up or expand
systems to handle over-the-counter contracts, jumping ahead of
regulatory reform that has yet to mandate such moves.
CME Group Inc (CME.O), IntercontinentalExchange Inc
(ICE.N), and LCH.Clearnet are also pressing ahead on clearing
other asset classes.
"OCC is vigorously pursuing a clearing solution for OTC
equity derivatives with the hopes of clearing in 2010 or 2011,"
Since December, OCC officials have been meeting regularly
with representatives from about a dozen broker-dealers and
half-a-dozen hedge funds to hash out details, he said.
CME's clearinghouse, whose December launch of credit
default swaps clearing trailed ICE by about nine months, is
testing its system for clearing interest-rate swaps with data
from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's combined $3 trillion swaps
(Reporting by Ann Saphir. Editing by Robert MacMillan)