OCC appoints Citadel Securities CTO to its board

Rick Steves

“Josh has a deep knowledge and understanding of financial technology, and we are pleased to welcome him as a Director and a member of our Technology Committee. Our board and members will benefit from Josh’s expertise as we continue to foster innovation for market participants while promoting stability and integrity in our markets.”

Josh Woods, CTO of Citadel Securities, joins the Board of Directors of the OCC

The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) has appointed Josh Woods, Citadel Securities’ Chief Technology Officer, to its Board of Directors.

Founded in 1973, the OCC is the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization and is dedicated to promoting stability and market integrity by delivering clearing and settlement services for options, futures, and securities lending transactions.

As a Systemically Important Financial Market Utility (SIFMU), OCC operates under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

OCC has more than 100 clearing members and provides central counterparty (CCP) clearing and settlement services to 20 exchanges and trading platforms.

“Promoting stability and integrity in our markets”

Josh Woods has nearly 20 years of experience in finance and technology. At Citadel Securities, Woods leads technology teams that design and build systems that power global trading and keep the firm at the forefront of finance and technology.

Woods was previously a Senior Director of Engineering at Oracle, responsible for engineering infrastructure and cloud-related initiatives. Prior to that, he led product and engineering at a SaaS start-up, ultimately landing the team at Salesforce. Prior to that, he held leadership positions at IBM, where he created IBM Connections Files, one of the first entrants into the enterprise social software market, and filed numerous patents in the areas of programming languages and modern internet architectures.

Craig Donohue, OCC Chairman, said: “Josh has a deep knowledge and understanding of financial technology, and we are pleased to welcome him as a Director and a member of our Technology Committee. Our board and members will benefit from Josh’s expertise as we continue to foster innovation for market participants while promoting stability and integrity in our markets.”

Ovation is OCC’s upcoming cloud-based DLT-powered platform

The OCC recently partnered with Vermiculus Financial Technology to enhance its technological capabilities, as part of the development of OCC’s new platform, Ovation.

Vermiculus, a global provider specializing in clearing, trading, and CSD technology, has contributed its VeriClear solution to this venture. VeriClear is an AI-powered, and cloud-native risk system built on a microservice-based architecture, offering elastic scalability and real-time functionality. It enables clearing houses globally to manage their operations in real-time, offering benefits like margin and settlement savings for clients, enhanced risk management, and operational efficiency.

The development of Ovation is a key component of OCC’s Renaissance Initiative. This multi-year project aims to overhaul and modernize OCC’s technology infrastructure. Upon completion, it’s expected to streamline operations, enhance risk management tools, and establish a more sophisticated data management system.

The OCC’s upcoming Ovation platform is a significant development in the financial clearing and settlement space. It is part of OCC’s shift towards cloud-based technology to enhance business agility, operational efficiency, and risk management capabilities. The platform aims to provide OCC with improved resiliency, enhanced security, and increased scalability​​.

Market participants have expressed a need for consolidated reporting and easier access to information, which Ovation aims to address. The platform will offer a more user-friendly interface for viewing intraday transactions and optimize risk management capabilities using real-time data. It will also include APIs for secure and on-demand data access​​.

Ovation is a part of the Renaissance Initiative, a multi-year project to redevelop and modernize OCC’s technology infrastructure. This includes clearing, risk management, and data management systems. The initiative involves expanding the use of cloud technology, subject to regulatory approval​​​.

The platform is expected to enhance operational efficiencies through process reengineering and automation. It aims to provide high-velocity clearing, settlement, and risk management capabilities while maintaining secure and reliable operations​.

Ovation will use cutting-edge tools and technologies, including HashiCorp and Kubernetes. The platform’s design involves a complex, interesting architecture with microservices, aiming for a secure, reliable, and performant system​​. A key feature of Ovation is the new DLT (distributed ledger technology)-based system for securities lending clearing. This system will enhance existing infrastructure, increase transparency for market participants, and reduce daily reconciliation processes​​.

OCC plans to educate and engage its members about the new platform, focusing on data messaging flows and formats. The goal is to facilitate a smooth transition and integration with member systems​​. Before its launch, industry-wide testing with OCC’s clearing members and participant exchanges will be conducted. Ensuring preparedness for launch among members and market participants is a critical focus​​.

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