Ascential Software Helps Power FIXML Processing for Options Industry

Chicago-Based Options Clearing Corporation Selects Ascential DataStage(TM) Enterprise Edition For FIXML Transaction Processing With 130 Member Institutions

WESTBORO, Mass., March 31, 2004 -- Ascential Software Corporation, (Nasdaq: ASCL), the enterprise data integration leader, today announced that the Chicago-based Options Clearing Corporation (OCC), the world's largest clearing organization for options derivatives, has selected Ascential DataStage(TM) Enterprise Edition to help power FIXML transaction processing with 130 member institutions.

OCC will use Ascential DataStage Enterprise Edition to help transform a broad range of financial/options data -- including positions, trades, settlements and product data -- into FIXML, an XML-based format, for distribution by OCC's ENCORE(TM) clearing system. Data from ENCORE goes to financial institution clearing members, trade sources/exchanges, regulatory agencies and other non-clearing organizations. This project is intended to complement ENCORE's straight-through processing capabilities.

The Ascential Software solution is designed to efficiently extract immense volumes of real-time data from a mainframe-based database system, transform it into a special FIXML based data scheme for the securities industry, and send the processed information in real time to its client organizations.

"Ascential DataStage Enterprise Edition is a critical component of our architecture that will help us migrate our ENCORE output distribution into FIXML," said Michael McClain, OCC's first vice president and head of applications development. "Ascential Software will help ENCORE reach its goal of providing straight-through, real-time processing by the end of 2005."

ENCORE, OCC's largest system development project ever, is a highly flexible clearing system designed to readily adapt to changes in contract volume, product offerings and the increased use of the Internet in the derivatives industry. OCC has implemented major releases of the ENCORE system since 2000.

OCC's ENCORE application processes FIXML, a version of the industry standard Financial Information eXchange (FIX) messaging protocol for real-time securities transactions data exchange. FIXML is a derivative of Extensible Markup Language (XML), the Internet's lingua franca for business. Ascential DataStage Enterprise Edition will handle all FIXML transformations for OCC.

"OCC continues to lead the financial services industry, creating competitive advantage by strategically investing in information infrastructure," said Mark Register, chief marketing officer and vice president of marketing, industry solutions and global strategic alliances at Ascential Software. "Ascential Software's solutions are designed to help OCC maintain their market leadership by delivering industry-leading services such as real-time data exchange and straight-through processing."

The Ascential Enterprise Integration Suite is an end-to-end data integration solution that profiles, cleanses and consolidates data from multiple sources, applications and systems, and transforms it into valuable strategic information for public and private sector enterprises. The suite enables unlimited scalability through parallel processing, meta data management, any-to-any connectivity and real-time data integration. Ascential Real-Time Integration Services(TM) extends the reach and enables the seamless interoperability of Ascential Software's data integration solutions within an enterprise's service-oriented architecture (SOA).

About OCC

OCC, founded in 1973, is the largest clearing organization in the world for options and was the first clearing house to receive a 'AAA' credit rating from Standard & Poor's Corporation. In 2003, OCC's average daily options volume was 3.6 million contracts and average daily premium settlements were $1.1 billion. Operating under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, OCC provides clearing and settlement services for the American Stock Exchange, the Boston Options Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, International Securities Exchange, One Chicago, NQLX, Pacific Exchange and Philadelphia Stock Exchange. More information about OCC is available through its Web site at

About Ascential Software

Ascential Software Corporation is the leading provider of enterprise data integration solutions to organizations worldwide. Customers use the Ascential Enterprise Integration Suite to integrate and leverage data across all transactional, operational and analytical applications with confidence in the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of critical information. Ascential Software's powerful data profiling, data quality, data transformation, parallel processing, meta data and connectivity solutions enable customers to reduce total cost of ownership and increase return on IT investment. Headquartered in Westboro, Mass., Ascential Software has offices worldwide and supports more than 3,000 customers in such industries as financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, consumer goods, retail and government. For more information about Ascential Software call 1- 800-966-9875 (508-366-3888 if calling from outside the US or Canada) or visit the Ascential Software Web site at

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This release contains forward-looking statements based on current expectations or beliefs, as well as a number of assumptions about future events, and these statements are subject to important factors and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this release address a variety of subjects including, for example, the functionality, characteristics, quality and performance capabilities of Ascential Software's products and technology; results achievable and benefits attainable through deployment of Ascential Software's products; the ability of OCC to reach its goals in the suggested timeframes; the ability to profile, cleanse and consolidate data from multiple sources, applications and systems, and transform it into valuable strategic information for public and private sector enterprises; market leadership; reduction of cost of ownership; and increased return on IT investment. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements: the ability of Ascential Software to expand its market share; growth rates for the enterprise data integration software market; general business conditions in the software industry, the technology sector, and in the domestic and international economies; rapid technological change in the markets served by Ascential Software; dependence on international operations; global and geopolitical instability; and difficulties that Ascential Software may experience integrating technologies, operations and personnel of completed or future acquisitions, including the recent acquisition of Mercator Software, Inc. For a detailed discussion of these and other cautionary statements, please refer to the filings made by Ascential Software with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation, the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K. Ascential Software disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements made herein to reflect any change in Ascential Software's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which such statements are based. Ascential is not responsible for statements attributed to third parties within this release or in any materials referenced herein.

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