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CUSIP’s game is done



  1. Public Domain Dedication. Bloomberg Finance L.P., a limited partnership organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware with offices at 731 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022 (“Bloomberg”), hereby dedicates BSYM Identifiers to the public domain and makes BSYM Identifiers available to the public at large for free to facilitate trading, processing and reporting of financial transactions, and research on securities and other financial instruments. “BSYM Identifier” means a unique string of alphanumeric and non-alphanumeric characters assigned by Bloomberg to designate a specific security or other financial instrument. Bloomberg makes this dedication for the benefit of the public at large and to the detriment of Bloomberg’s successors and assigns. Bloomberg intends this dedication to be an overt act of relinquishment in perpetuity of any present and future rights under copyright law, whether vested or contingent, in the BSYM Identifiers, to the extent any such rights exist. Bloomberg understands that such relinquishment of all rights includes the relinquishment of all rights to enforce (by lawsuit or otherwise) any copyrights in the BSYM Identifiers, to the extent such rights exist. Bloomberg recognizes that BSYM Identifiers may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and in any way, including by methods that have not yet been invented or conceived.
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Praise be to Bloomberg… this move will unleash competitive forces in the financial markets and hopefully break the back of the American Bankers Association and their stranglehold on the securities identifier process through the CUSIP system… here is an example of what CUSIP charges to use their symbology for any purpose:

Greater Than 40,000 Securities

Business Line 1 Business Line 2 Business Line 3 Business Line 4
Region/Country 1 $130,000 $65,000 $32,500 $32,500
Region/Country 2 $65,000 $32,500 $16,250 $16,250
Region/Country 3 $32,500 $16,250 $8,125 $8,125

The 1st Business Line and 1st Region/Country represent the Base Fee component of the overall annual License Fee. If you operate more than 1 Business Line and/or in more than 1 Region/Country, the total annual License Fee is calculated by adding the applicable additional Business Lines and Regions/Countries fees to the Base Fee.

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Bloomberg has torn that approach to shreds today… time for Reuters to follow… Tom Glocer are you listening?

The American Bankers Association and it’s members, especially those with large dealing businesses, caused the global financial crisis… in large part by creating opacity and darkness… and it starts by keeping the identification system a closed system that only select parties have access to by exorbitant payments. Imagine how illiquid the equities markets would be every individual and firm had to pay to use stock symbols. Open identification systems are foundational to liquid and stable markets.

Sunlight… blessed sunlight…

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Note to SEC rulemakers:

Please amend SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-60473; August 10, 2009]

Order Providing NRSROs a Temporary Exemption from the Requirement in Rule 17g-2(d) (Incorporating the Provisions of Rule 17g-2(a)(8)) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that CUSIP Numbers Be Displayed

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It would be exceptionally helpful to allow NRSROs when exposing ratings history in XBRL to use the Bloomberg ID symbology rather than the CUSIP ids… I know from discussion with SEC staffers that this has been a holdup with the ABA unwilling to allow free CUSIP use… Bloomberg is as good or better than CUSIP at maintaining securities masters information. Time to unleash competition in the ratings industry. This is a foundational piece of the business. Think of the expense burden on a small NRSRO who has to pay those exorbitant CUSIP fees shown above… it’s not right…

Thank you Bloomberg… all my confidence in capitalism was restored today.

Market based solutions have a place alongside government mandates.

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