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LSEG’s PermIDs: Converting needs into opportunity

Refinitiv’s PermIDs Converting needs into opportunity

London Stock Exchange Group’s (LSEG’s) PermID framework was conceived as a proprietary tool to address an internal challenge around identifying objects in the firm’s information model. Once it had proved its worth, it was rolled out to the firm’s clients to significant success.

Some of the most pervasive and seemingly never-ending challenges guaranteed to emerge within all capital markets firms are those around data management. Such challenges come in all shapes and sizes due to the heterogenous nature of firms’ technology and data stacks. These range from relatively simple storage and formatting issues to more complex data cataloging projects that provide the practical and logical means of surfacing the aggregate of data residing within a firm so users can locate the information they require with the minimum of effort. Increasingly, firms on both sides of the market are having to deal with ballooning data volumes in an often bewildering variety of formats, which exacerbates the data challenges they are already experiencing.  

Data vendors are similarly impacted by their own blend of data management challenges, a scenario in which LSEG found itself in 2010 as it sought to link separate but related datasets maintained by separate groups within the firm. As is so often the case in the financial services industry, necessity proved to be the mother of invention, which ultimately yielded the firm’s PermID initiative.


Kristina Sutton, LSEG
Kristina Sutton, LSEG

PermID was designed to uniquely identify objects in LSEG’s information model, including organizations, instruments, funds, issuers and people. According to Kristina Sutton, LSEG’s director of data management and interoperability, PermID is similar to barcodes for consumer products or vehicle identification numbers for cars, given that it is designed to be used by computers and systems (not directly by people) to unambiguously reference an object or piece of data. This, she says, differs from the firm’s other identifiers, such as the RIC, which are designed to be read by humans and can be more easily remembered. 

“Launched in 2010 by Thomson Reuters, PermID came about to address an internal need to link separate but related data maintained by different groups in multiple systems to allow data from separate internal systems to be shared company-wide in useful and trustworthy ways,” Sutton explains. 

“To improve the way data was mastered and managed, LSEG launched an initiative to assign PermIDs to objects as they became part of a federated data model. This information model defines how objects are modeled by and identified with PermIDs, including references to other PermIDs (for example, issuer-to-issue) where appropriate. Identifiers are fundamentally important because they provide a reliable and shareable reference to a specific object and, unlike stock tickers and other such symbols, a PermID never changes, is permanent, and is open,” she says.


After its launch, it became clear to LSEG that large numbers of its clients would similarly benefit from the PermID initiative. It therefore decided to spin-off PermID and make the framework available at no extra cost to clients looking to capitalize on a tried-and-tested tool that would allow them to fully understand, optimize and share the data sitting within their domains. LSEG’s decision to “commercialize” PermID by making it available to its clients is by no means an industry first—some of the most successful and widely used technologies on both sides of the industry were similarly developed by firms as a means of addressing an internal need and then spun off when they realized a similar need existed widely across the industry. 

“PermID provides a potential framework for customers to improve their enterprise data management to generate alpha by tagging all their data and exposing powerful linkages for insight by identifying the same object types, for example, companies or people,” Sutton continues. “While most identifier schemas span subsets of entity types or categories, PermID provides identification across a wide variety of entity (object) types, including organizations, instruments, funds, issuers and people.”

Lower costs 

According to Sutton, the breadth of interoperability and the data intelligence it provides is formed by links that connect pieces of information. Unambiguous identifiers such as the PermID are the linchpins creating powerful relationships that facilitate those links. This is becoming a key selling point for LSEG as high-quality, well-validated data becomes increasingly important across the industry. Essentially, PermID enables clients to navigate the integration of LSEG’s data, reducing complexity and making it easier for clients and partners to work with the firm, while creating an opportunity for them to use PermIDs across their own internal systems, allowing them to organize content around a consistent taxonomy and, in doing so, lowering data management costs. 

In 2015, LSEG made the identifier data available to the industry via PermID.org under a Creative Commons by attribution license, and includes a subset of information. PermIDs are now a common reference point for a wide range of users who use them to link different datasets and access the underlying metadata they need. LSEG continues to develop the PermID standards and manages data governance internally. PermIDs are currently a free-of-charge feature across all LSEG data products.


LSEG’s PermID framework is complementary to its RIC, International Securities Identification Number (ISO 6166), Legal Entity Identifier (ISO 17442) and other London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) stable identifiers. However, PermID is designed to span all security types, as well as many other objects such as organizations and people. “RIC will continue to be available via our client-facing offerings and will continue to be used alongside PermID as a label or tag where appropriate,” Sutton explains. “PermIDs will overlap significantly with a variety of other market identifiers, although the primary goal is to make meaningful connections, across disparate data points to drive effective decision-making.”

LSEG uses cross-referencing and insightful relationships to unlock the value of its data by linking identifiers together. The PermID is a fundamental component to this. “Data is one of our key strengths, and having a common identifier across all our datasets is a powerful enabler for our content,” Sutton says. “If it is disorganized or poorly structured, its value for our clients is diminished.”

Learn more about LSEG’s Symbology offering

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