Bloomberg Open Symbology – BSYM (Bloomberg open sources its Security Identifier Universe)


A while ago, Bloomberg announced that it is making its proprietary security codes public ( I received couple of emails asking what that means. Many news items used the term ‘Open Source’, which was confusing to some. First, let me explain what they are making it open source.

As some of my articles on this blog explain different types of security identifiers used in the market, Bloomberg security identifier is another category. But they have been proprietary. What that means is you can’t use them unless you have purchased Bloomberg Professional or other Bloomberg services. If you are a market data vendor you can’t use them with your data.

Now, Bloomberg created website for public and it is free. Also allows you to use their codes as you need without any licensing. Let me clear it a bit more. They are not giving you any product or software. It is merely a license to use the Ids freely, that’s it!
Does it really matter to a technology professional working for a typical Wall Street firm?

It may not. In fact, now you may have to add this column to your Security Master database if you are already not doing so.

If you are a market data provider, it will be additional selling point for you to add Bloomberg ID to your data.

So, don’t be excited that Bloomberg is giving away something big!


BSYM Website – You can search codes by market, security type and also download them in Excel.


  1. Considering so many “Unique” identifiers exist, having a common/consistent symbology is required and BB has taken the first step in that direction. And that is “BIG”.
    It will allow use of their symbology without paying hefty subscription fees once everyone starts adopting it.
    Why symbology is not standardized so far is still a perplexing me considering how far FIX has evolved.

  2. Symbology is in itself a competitive business and the accurate “free standard” is likely to prevail. If there was a “global” standard then think of the potential lost revenues… Bloomberg’s motive for offering Open Symbology Model helps them stay relevant in a regulatory environment that is pushing for consistency between vendors and throughout institutions. Also, if they offer the Instrument Codes to everyone then Bloomberg itself becomes a fixed standard / requirement in some way. The real main objective however, is to disrupt the TR RIC Codes pricing with a free alternative.


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