Symbology Mapping FAQs

How often do symbol maps need to be updated ?

The list of instruments that are available to trade is constantly changing. This may be due to many factors such as new issues being brought to market, corporate actions on existing instruments or derivative contracts expiring / being renewed. At Magtia we take a fresh listing of whats available to trade on any given exchange or asset category and map the new or updated symbols before the exchange opens each day.

Is it permissible to perform FIGI mapping ?

Yes, FIGI is open source and provided free of charge by the Object Management Group. It's purpose is to enable all market participants to consistently identify financial instruments.

Bloomberg are the Registration Authority of the FIGI open data standard, more details about the OpenFIGI initiative can be found on the Bloomberg BSym website.

Is it permissible to perform RIC Mapping ?

RICs are proprietary symbols belonging to Refinitiv. The use or mapping of RICs is not permitted without a license, however, if you are already a Refintiv customer or have subscribed to the ERL then you may automatically be entitled to use and / or perform RIC mapping without incurring further licensing costs .

Is RIC Mapping Simple ?

Questions regarding how best to perform RIC Mapping, ISIN Mapping, Exchange Code Mapping or Bloomberg FIGI mapping are commonly found on developers web forums: Queries such as "Is it possible to do this algorithmically", and if so, "how easy is it?" As with many things in life, the difficulties are in the exceptions to the rules, and in case of RIC Mapping there are many. The rules and algorithms required vary greatly by asset class, they frequently require maintenance when vendors and exchanges issue data notifications, and there are often exceptions that require manual intervention. Each asset class presents unique challenges :-

Equities are considered to be the “easiest” asset class to map  and the immediate reaction is to map by ISIN. However,  the ISIN is allocated to a financial instrument at the asset level 

The  RIC / Bloomberg key  defines an instrument on a venue, it’s an issue of granularity : One ISIN can have dozens of RICs.  Note that the Bloomberg FIGI is also at the granularity of venue not Instrument , therefore RIC to FIGI mapping is one to one. Hence the ISIN is not granular enough to identify a RIC or Bloomberg ticker  for a specific exchange .  

 No algorithm can on its own translate any equity. At very least you need to translate the exchange identifier even if the “ticker”  is common. However even mapping the exchange  is not straight forward 

  • Bloomberg users’ default to the Country Composite “exchange”, where often there are no Refinitv equivalent composites 
  • 90% of the exchange “tickers” can be common across both vendors but where the exchange ticker conflicts with a vendor’s “syntax” it will vary 
  • Rules to handle share classes, Rights, Preference shares, Warrants are required and vary by exchange 
  • Other exchanges have variants for Auctions, Foreign Investments, Buy Back, odd lots 

In short, a simple ticker map may work some of the time, but if you need all for the instruments mapped all of the time a different approach is required.  

Futures are probably the easiest asset to map as there are the fewest in number and simple in construction .   

 The legacy 1 digit year and one letter Month code is universally used by exchange and vendor alike. But even this has changed as contracts extend beyond 10 year and so 2 digit years are required, but the exchanges and vendors cant agree what year month to introduce them 

 The root code for futures used by the exchange are rarely used by the feed vendors. The only solution is a comprehensive cross reference  that needs to be maintained  

Option RIC mapping to Bloomberg or vice versa is one of the trickiest tasks 

 In theory with the RIC root, BBG root, Strike, Exercise style, Put Call Indicator, expiry date, exchange MIC it is possible to create a RIC code. However not all the meta data required can be parsed from the BBG symbol, you need access to the fields only available from the vendors feed 

 Because symbologies  don’t allow decimal places the strike price has to be scaled : A strike of 15.5 can be represented by 0155 15500 01550 any number of ways. The scaling can alter as you transition from 99-100 (common in options on bond futures). Other series may have both 100 and 1000 strikes, map these wrong and your trading the wrong instrument  

Mapping RIC  to Blomberg tickers  for  OTC instruments is a black art.  

There are no algorithms and often the meta data required is not forthcoming. Even the ISO currency code and the tenor get abbreviated and distorted for historic restriction in ticker sizes 

 The only solution is to map each instrument by investigation and to store and maintain the mapping.  

Mapping Index codes between Bloomberg  and Refintiv is as difficult as OTC. Most Index providers do not supply full meta data required to clearly identify the difference between a Gross or Net version of the same Index, and the data vendors usually only provide  a 15 character description string. MSCI are the main culprit , they publish a 6 digit code for the Index, but then have up to 12 variants with the same code