January 20, 2010 06:00 ET

Regulatory Changes for Options Traders Expected to Be Costly

S3 in Austin Guiding Firms With Efficient Technological Transition

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - January 20, 2010) - The financial services industry expects to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure and software alterations to accommodate changes in options trading symbology protocols -- commonly referred to as 'OSI.' The Options Pricing Regulatory Authority (OPRA) has mandated what it describes as a simpler method for reporting factors like options symbols, prices, and dates, though many Options firms are concerned about costs and adaptation to the new standards.

"We've been working on easy technology fixes to this transition since we first heard this might be coming," said Rod Taylor, Vice President of Financial Services for S3 in Austin. "The test runs we've been making for S3 clients using our software on their options data feeds indicate that this might not be as troublesome as everyone has feared. But there are challenges in making this kind of massive change."

On January 23rd, OPRA will begin sending select options symbols to trading firms to familiarize them with the format. Anywhere from 20 to 50 symbols will be tried out with options traders on February 12th and the permanent transition is scheduled to begin on April 7th starting with "A" symbols; the switchover will be completed with the "Z" symbols in May. These will constitute an entirely different methodology for reporting the symbol root, date, put, call, and strike.

"The challenge for people writing new algorithms and changing routers is to make certain the new symbols map properly to the old options data," said Jason Perkins, financial services sales executive for S3. "All of the trading systems out there are built on old symbology so options firms have a significant amount of work to move over to the new methods."

S3 is managing the transition to new options symbology for some of the largest options trading firms in the nation and the company has been working on technological adaptations for more than a year.

About S3 - ( is an Austin, Texas based company focused on providing business crisis solutions for network outsourcers, financial services, and healthcare industries. S3's software is deployed as a managed solution to solve time-sensitive business crises. S3 employs about 45 and was listed as one of America's fastest growing companies by Inc 5000.

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