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Industry Standards for 200

As I write, I’m on my way home from a punishing 3-day trip to Denver for the quarterly ISITC meeting.  I didn’t set foot outside from the moment I checked in on Sunday morning until it was time to head back to the airport.  Denver is a curious location inasmuch as it’s not really local to any ISITC members, but there is a long-standing ISITC policy to host at least one meeting every year on the West Coast.  We use “West” here in the loosest sense of the word… it’s a 2 hour flight from San Francisco for me.  “West” meaning somewhere not on the East Coast I suppose!  Still, once you get there it’s a great location, with a hopping downtown area (I’ve been before). 

There were several Hillary sightings, as Mrs. Clinton and her unfeasibly large Secret Service detail were staying in the hotel at the same time.  Auto-buffs were raving about those Magnificent Men and their Gold Rush Rally Machines that were using the hotel as a pit stop on the way to New York. 

The meetings followed the usual time-honored format. The Board of Directors met on Sunday lunchtime, and the meeting-proper started right after that.  The newly formed Middle Office Working Group is now beginning to find its feet and announced plans to focus on T+2. This group is generating a ton of interest. 

Monday morning was the traditional general session. For this meeting we designed a panel based on the Jeopardy TV game show in an attempt to raise awareness of ISITC’s role within the broader standards landscape.  Very droll.  I desperately tried to work in some Saturday Night Live script lines, but alas they were all left on the cutting room floor. 

All this hilarity was followed by a much more serious and very interesting presentation on Trade Lifecycle Optimization by David Easthope of Celent.  Using corporate actions as an example, David walked the audience through Celent’s TLO framework.  A firm considering the adoption of corporate actions technology solutions would be able to define a very precise set of formulas designed to create a much more rigorous calculation of the anticipated ROI. 

In the afternoon the market practice working groups got down to business. Tags and fields and all that good stuff.  Yay! 

On Tuesday the highlight was a superb presentation by Corby Dear of Bloomberg. Corby provided an update on the Open Symbology initiative. The new standard is more formally known as “FIGI” – Financial Instrument Global Identifier.  It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue does it? 

FIGI is now a candidate OMG standard, and Corby announced plans to take it to ISO TC68/SC4.  As an industry we collectively spend millions and millions of dollars every year for the right to use financial identifiers, so a free alternative is certain to attract a lot of attention. 

Adoption seems inevitable… with or without the ISO seal of approval. 

To wit, there are 28 exchanges that have already announced support, along with most of the major players in the market data space, and a smattering of large financial institutions.   Others will surely follow. 

To wit the second, there are already 185 million identifiers available for download. Yikes!

FIGI, it seems, has some serious legs.  I’m sure I’ll be writing more in a future blog. 

And just like that… another ISITC meeting comes to a close. 


I’ll take Industry Standards for $200.

And the answer is: Baltimore in September.

What is the question?



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Standards Forum

The Standards Forum is the place where business and standardisation meet. This group would like to facilitate and encourage dialogue around standardisation in the financial industry, and share views, insights and updates on how financial standards can contribute to reducing cost and increasing efficiency when tackling today's challenges such as automation, compliance, and regulation.

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