Bloomberg may be making a big song and dance about its open symbology initiative (BSYM), but it’s the data vendor’s Bloomberg Global ID (BBGID) that has caught the attention of many Reference Data Review readers. Two intrepid data managers have provided their feedback on the identifier’s potential for the market, which (rumour has it) Bloomberg has promised to offer for free indefinitely.
One reader, who holds responsibility for data management at a large US-headquartered sell side institution, noted: “The Bloomberg open symbology initiative is a step in the right direction but more interesting is the introduction of the BBGID, which could blow the Reuters Instrument Code (RIC) out of the water. It has the specificity and granularity to be able to meet the needs of the current market. The ISIN was never sufficient to meet all the requirements.”
Another reader, this time from the buy side arm of a large global financial institution, indicated that the BBGID “ticks all the boxes” as a unique instrument identifier. To this end, he noted the main benefit of the BBGID is that it is licence free. After all, data licences are an ongoing bugbear for the industry and have even attracted the attention of the regulatory community in terms of intellectual property concerns (see IPUG’s efforts to lobby vendors on this issue).
The BBGID is also much more granular at the exchange/listing/ticker level than alternatives such as the London Stock Exchange’s (LSE) Sedol codes, according to the buy side reader. Other benefits noted by the reader include the fact that: it will not change nearly as much as ISINs/Sedols; it comes with free skeletal instrument identifiers; it will be enhanced to include logic so that ISIN/Sedol licensees can receive cross references; and it has been live since August for 36 million instruments (including listed futures and options).
As well as posing a significant challenge to the other vendors on the block, the reader reckons the BBGID could solve the whole front to back connectivity and linkage issue, increase settlement matching STP and provide accelerated instrument creation time to market. He added: “And it could possibly be achieved during my career if it gets enough push. In short I think it could blow away any need for a utility. It also might be adaptable to support the new OTC derivatives identifier.”
Quite a vote of confidence.
It has not been entirely smooth sailing for the data vendor, however. In October Bloomberg bowed to pressure from users to step back from the initial migration timeline for its BUID to the BBGID and agreed to maintain support for the BUID indefinitely, 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.
It will be interesting to see how other vendors respond to the gauntlet that has been set down by Bloomberg and whether the rest of the market agrees with these two reader assessments. No doubt market participants will vote with their feet.