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OCC Lowers Equity Derivatives Clearing Fee – FTF News

In other news, SS&C is acquiring Mainstream Group, ING is creating a CTO role, Wolters Kluwer GRC hires a general manager, and Polar Capital expands sales group for North America.

High Volumes Facilitated OCC’s Reduced Fees

The Options Clearing Corp. (OCC), which describes itself as “the world’s largest equity derivatives clearing organization,” is cutting its clearing fee from four-and-a-half cents ($0.045) per equity derivatives contract to two cents ($0.02) per contract effective June 1, 2021, subject to regulatory review, officials say.

“The two-cent clearing fee follows a previous fee reduction from five-and-a-half cents ($0.055) per contract to four-and-a-half cents ($0.045) per contract, which went into effect September 1, 2020,” according to the OCC.

This past December, the OCC board of directors approved a refund to clearing member firms of $156 million to be paid on April 19, 2021, officials add.

“Participation in listed options markets in 2021 has resulted in historic cleared contract volumes, outpacing even 2020 highs,” says John Davidson, OCC CEO, in a prepared statement.

“March and January 2021 were the first and second highest volume months, respectively, in OCC’s history, with March volume exceeding 904 million total contracts cleared. These record volumes have provided us with an opportunity to enhance OCC’s financial resilience to the benefit of our market participants and the greater investing public,” Davidson says.

“Because of our strong focus on expense discipline coupled with record contract volumes, we can continue to take steps to lower costs for market participants, consistent with the Capital Management Policy, while also investing in our enhanced operational resiliency and technology,” says Scot Warren, OCC chief operating officer (COO), in a statement.

SS&C to Acquire Mainstream Group for $225 Million

Windsor, Conn.-based SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. reports that the board of directors of Mainstream Group Holdings Ltd., based in Sydney, Australia, has unanimously recommended acquisition by SS&C of 100 percent of the shares and outstanding equity rights in Mainstream for A$2.00 per security.

Terms of the proposed acquisition imply an enterprise value for Mainstream of approximately US$225 million (including transaction costs and net debt), according to the statement, which notes that the “purchase will be subject to customary conditions, including approval by Mainstream shareholders, the relevant Australian court and certain regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.”

The deal will go forward “in the absence of a superior offer and [is] subject to an independent expert concluding that the SS&C Proposal is in the best interests of the Mainstream shareholders,” according to an SS&C statement.

The statement also notes “matching rights of Vistra Group in connection with its prior Scheme Implementation Deed have now expired and Mainstream is proceeding to terminate that agreement with Vistra Group in accordance with its terms. SS&C’s Scheme Implementation Deed will then become fully operative per its terms.”

The statement characterizes Mainstream as a “provider of investment administration, middle office, fund accounting, superannuation administration, share registry, and unit registry (transfer agency) services to leading fund managers and superannuation funds, family offices and dealer groups. The company serves clients globally through its offices in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, Malta, Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, and the U.S.”

Mainstream’s financial adviser is Miles Advisory Partners and Maddocks is the firm’s legal adviser. SS&C is being advised by Citi as financial adviser and Gilbert + Tobin as legal adviser.

ING Creates CTO Role From COO Position   

Ron van Kemenade

Dutch bank ING is creating and filling a chief technology officer (CTO) position by splitting technology management away from the position of chief operating officer (COO) in a shuffle of its top management in a bid to “further strengthen its position as a digital leader in banking,” officials say.

The current chief information officer Ron van Kemenade “will be appointed member of the Management Board Banking and chief technology officer [CTO], effective 1 May 2021. After a transitional period, Roel Louwhoff, chief operations officer [COO] and chief transformation officer, will leave ING later this year to continue his career outside the company,” according to an official statement from the Amsterdam-based bank.

In his role as chief information officer, Van Kemenade reports to the COO, officials say. As the new CTO, he will “remain responsible for technology globally, including infrastructure, applications, and architecture. He will also remain responsible for data management and will assume responsibility for information security,” bank officials say.

The COO will continue to run bank-wide operations including know your customer (KYC), the Global Transformation Office, and ING Business Shared Services, officials say.

Van Kemenade joined ING in 2003 as director of Internet Retail for ING Netherlands, officials say. He has held positions overseeing direct channels and payment services at the Postbank, for product and program management at ING Retail Banking, and as chief information officer of ING Netherlands starting in 2010. In 2013, he assumed his current post.

Louwhoff was appointed COO in 2014 and as chief transformation officer in October 2016, ING officials say.

“Before joining ING, he held positions in consultancy, operations and IT with various international organizations including SNT, ClientLogic Corporation and BT,” officials add.

Louwhoff will step down from the management board effective August 2021 and will leave ING on Nov. 1, 2021, officials say. Van Kemenade’s appointment has been approved by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Wolters Kluwer Names General Manager for ELM Solutions  

Raja Sengupta

Wolters Kluwer Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) has appointed Raja Sengupta to be executive vice president and general manager of its ELM Solutions business, officials sat. The appointment is effective May 3, 2021.

Sengupta replaces Jonah Paransky who is stepping down from the position after four years to pursue outside career interests, according to a statement, which also notes that Sengupta previously headed Wolters Kluwer GRC’s Lien Solutions.

Sengupta was named executive vice president and general manager of Lien Solutions in late 2016. Before Wolters Kluwer, Sengupta was general manager of American Express Merchant Financing.

Wolters Kluwer reported 2020 annual revenues of €4.6 billion. The vendor, headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands, has customers in more than 180 countries and maintains operations in more than 40 countries, employing a total of approximately 19,000 persons.

Polar Capital Adds to North American Sales Unit

Polar Capital Holdings plc, an active asset management group, has made two senior hires for its North American sales unit, officials say.

Rudy Garza

Rudy Garza joined this past January as a director of business development, with responsibility for the U.S. west coast. Florbela Mendez joined on March 15 as vice president of business development at Phaeacian Partners, a joint venture with Polar Capital.

Garza joins after seven years at Royce Investment Partners, which focuses on small-cap equity strategies, where he managed client service and business development, according to the Polar statement.

Mendez joins Phaeacian Partners after 11 years at International Value Advisers, an investment management company available to “institutions, high-net-worth individuals and financial intermediaries.

Florbela Mendez

At Phaeacian, she was regional director for the Eastern Division. Before Phaeacian, she was International Product Manager at Morgan Stanley. Her mandate is to develop business with both new and existing clients, officials say.

Polar Capital, founded in 2001, is “principally located in London and maintains offices in New York, Los Angeles, Connecticut, Edinburgh, Jersey, Madrid, Frankfurt, Paris and Shanghai,” per the statement.