John Fennell

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John Fennell
Occupation Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer
Employer OCC
Location Chicago
LinkedIn Profile

John Fennell is executive vice president and chief risk officer at the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC). He was promoted to the position in September 2016, and is responsible for OCC's risk strategy. He also oversees OCC's model variation and risk management departments, plus security services, business continuity and disaster recovery.

He replaced John Grace, who left the company at that time.[1]


Prior to his current role, Fennell served as executive vice president, financial risk management at OCC where he was responsible for financial risk management, including market, credit and liquidity risk, default management, customer margin methodologies and model development. Since joining OCC in 1993, the majority of his career has been spent in the firm's risk management department, where most recently Mr. Fennell served as senior vice president, risk management & treasury operations, overseeing financial risk management and custodial operations related to all margin and clearing fund securities deposits with OCC. Fennell currently serves on the Executive Committee of CCP12, as an Affiliate Member with IOSCO and is active on the SIFMA Credit and Margin Committee as well as other industry margin and risk management committees.[2][3] He was previously first vice president, risk management. He is responsible for OCC's risk management process, including Quantitative Risk Management.[4]


Fennell graduated with an M.B.A. in Finance from DePaul University and a B.S. from Northern Illinois University. Fennell completed the Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional program at the FINRA Institute at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

MarketsWiki Education Video, July 2015

"In the past, settlement - the movement of securities and cash - is what you would associate with clearing. That changed as a result of the financial crisis. When you have banks like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers defaulting, confidence becomes the bigger issue."

Historically, clearing has not exactly been part of the "glamorous" side of trading. In fact, it has been looked at as a utility, like electricity and plumbing. But that all changed during the financial crisis. Clearing is not just about moving contracts through the pipes; it is also about the guaranteeing performance of those contracts.

OCC's John Fennell says that, these days, clearing is where it's at - an area of the market where one can innovate while managing those tail risks (or, "Lehman Moments"). It is also an area of the market that is enjoying solid growth. For newcomers looking for career opportunities, it doesn't get any more glamorous than that.

JLN Video Interview, April 2015

The OCC was designated a systemically important financial market utility in 2012. That led to some big changes at the organization, along with challenges in risk management and credit and liquidity resources. John Lothian News spoke with John Fennell, executive vice president, financial risk management at the OCC, about what the organization is doing to insure that it meets these and other regulatory obligations.


  1. Donohue Agrees to Stay on as OCC Executive Chairman for Three Additional Years. OCC Press Release.
  2. Industry Insight: John Fennell. OCC.
  3. OCC Executives. OCC.
  4. OCC Announces Officer Promotions. OCC Press Release.