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Bloomberg Bows to Pressure to Maintain Support for BUID Indefinitely

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The migration plans of data giant Bloomberg to gradually move users from its BUID identifier to its new Bloomberg Global ID (BBGID), which is at the heart of its open symbology initiative, have hit a roadblock. Users have exerted pressure on the vendor to step back from the initial migration timeline and to maintain support for the BUID indefinitely, and the vendor has agreed, for now at least.

The enforced migration from one identifier to another, with a defined shut off date for the BUID, was considered to be too restrictive for financial institutions struggling with a whole host of new regulatory requirements. Industry groups such as the Information Providers User Group (IPUG) and individual financial institutions have therefore been feeding this information back to the vendor, along with a whole host of other suggestions, such as the inclusion of Bsym in FOW TRADEdata’s service Xymbology.

The BBGID is a 12 digit alphanumerical security identifier that is maintained on the Bloomberg database and is automatically assigned to each new security that is added to the vendor’s system. According to the vendor, there will be more than 852 billion potential number available, all of which are being made available via the vendor’s Bloomberg Open Symbology (Bsym) website at no charge to users.

In a whitepaper on the Bsym initiative, Bloomberg states what it considers to be the benefits of its approach: “Eliminating the need to remove proprietary IDs and re-map securities will greatly simplify the steps needed to migrate between market data platforms and trading systems. Availability of a central symbology reference will facilitate mapping between users’ internal systems and create opportunities for integration and automation of the global enterprise.”

The BBGID is considered by some in the market to be the jewel in the crown of the data vendor’s Bsym initiative and a potential rival to the Reuters Instrument Code (RIC) in the market. One reference data exec within a large financial institution recently told Reference Data Review there is potential for the BBGID to “blow the RIC out of the water” due to the level of its specificity and granularity.

The vendor’s ambitions for the identifier could be boosted by the current regulatory drive for greater standardisation within the instrument and entity data space. Regulators are keen to be able to more closely track systemic risk and the standardisation of these reference data items across the market could significantly aid this endeavour (as proved by the discussions around the Office of Financial Research).

With the aim of proving its openness, Bloomberg also signed an agreement in April this year with NYSE Euronext to include its Bsym codes on NYSE’s data feed products globally. NYSE Euronext has initially added Bloomberg Bsym codes to its OpenBook product and will then move on to distribute Bsym along with its standard security identifiers for New York Stock Exchange-listed companies across all its data products.

The Bloomberg whitepaper on the details of the Bsym initiative is available to download here.

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