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More Practitioner Feedback on the BBGID: Great Potential But More Definition Needed

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Bloomberg’s new global identifier, dubbed the BBGID, is causing something of a stir within the data manager community and Reference Data Review has received more feedback on the subject this week, following on from the comments from two practitioners last week. A securities reference data practice manager at a large US investment bank explains his concerns and recommendations for Bloomberg on the subject, including its application to more complex structured products.

At a high level, he reckons the idea of the open symbology initiative is a “really great idea” and he indicates that he is “glad to see a market data vendor like Bloomberg going down this path”. His suggestion is that such a standard should therefore be adopted across the industry in a similar manner to the adoption of ISO standards.

This is a view reflective of the earlier feedback received on the subject and of the desire within the industry for a breaking down of the intellectual property rights related to proprietary identifiers within the market. The Information Providers User Group’s (IPUG), for example, has been putting pressure on the data vendor to open up its symbology for use within other vendors’ services, beginning with the FOW TRADEdata service Xymbology last year. If the BBGID is to be widely adopted, in a similar manner to ISO standards in the financial messaging space, then it will need to be used within the services of other vendors (even those in direct competition with Bloomberg).

However, the data management practitioner notes that he believes some work is still required by Bloomberg with regards to complex structured products. “The physical implementation doesn’t appear to be fully vetted across the gamut of asset classes, particularly mortgage backed securities (MBS),” he explains. “I also have a slight problem with the fact there’s no real definition of what a BBGID identifier is supposed to be allocated to across the different asset classes. This leads me to believe there’s no real definition of a BBGID.”

This certainly indicates that more education is needed around what Bloomberg is hoping to cover with the identifier and how it can be practically applied to instruments such as MBS. The data vendor needs to make clear whether the BBGID is a unique number of a security trading on an exchange in a particular session or whether it is this a unique number to represent a fungible (ISIN) security. The practitioner notes: “The answer right now seems to be a BBGID is whatever the Bloomberg data model requires.”

Hopefully Bloomberg will be able to answer these questions during  Reference Data Review’s upcoming interview. Check back soon for more.

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