Financial Instrument Global Identifier becomes open standard

Source: The Object Management Group

The Object Management Group (OMG) announced today the recent approval of the Financial Instrument Global Identifier (FIGI) standard, which marks a major advancement in the identification of financial instruments.

Almost every aspect of instrument management is based on closed systems that use proprietary identifiers which are privately owned and licensed. Settlement of deals may require traders, investors, and brokers to translate between multiple proprietary identifier formats to determine key features of an instrument. The FIGI standard removes this obstacle by specifying the structure and semantics of Global Identifiers, how they are constructed and validated, and their relationship with other financial information.

“The OMG recently released the FIGI as an industry standard for use by industry practitioners in the capital markets, which lacks a universal system for identifying and describing financial instruments,” said Dr. Richard Soley, Chairman and CEO of OMG. “A game-changing standard, the FIGI ties together disparate and fragmented symbologies, eliminates redundant mapping processes, streamlines the trade workflow and reduces operational risk. As an open standard, FIGI provides participants with a comprehensive, open and unchanging identifier that meets financial market needs and regulatory requirements.”

The methodology behind the FIGI standard is based on Bloomberg’s Open Symbology, or BSYM, a system Bloomberg developed for identifying securities across all global asset classes, including equities, options, futures, bonds, structured products and others. The FIGI standard was submitted to the OMG by Bloomberg, which now serves as the Registration Authority (RA) for these identifiers under the auspices of OMG. As the RA, Bloomberg serves as an issuer of new FIGIs and maintains a comprehensive system of record for the registered identifiers.

In 2016, Bloomberg plans to launch an online utility where FIGI users can submit a request for new identifiers as new issues come to market. The site will also provide search and mapping capabilities for existing identifiers in the FIGI library. While Bloomberg can provide broad coverage of identifiers for new issues, it also encourages organizations, such as exchanges, data providers, custodians and others to inquire how they can be involved in the issuance of identifiers for new instruments.
With more than 280 million identifiers issued to date, the FIGI standard is applicable to all financial instruments across all asset classes in the financial sector and is invaluable for instruments lacking a standard identifier such as loans, OTC derivatives, commodities, and other assets. 

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