Getting it Right the First Time: The importance of data alignment in OTC ISIN records

The Derivative Service Bureau is working with industry participants to publish best practice guidance that helps OTC derivatives data practitioners increasingly focus on data alignment 

Industry participants are increasingly focused on the importance of data standards due to the insights they stand to gain from capturing ‘clean’ data. As such, there has been a recent push to ensure alignment of data within the record for OTC International Securities Identification Numbers (ISINs) across a range of areas. Participants are also driven to achieve this alignment in an attempt to reduce the risk of increased operational costs upon incorrect input or collection of data, which can result in either reporting mismatches or matching breaks. Achieving an alignment on data, therefore, allows for more streamlined processing of data. In other words, it pays to get it right the first time.

In response to direct questions from industry participants with regards to the desire for establishing data alignment, the Derivatives Service Bureau (DSB) has published a set of best practice statements. The statements have been developed in collaboration with the DSB’s Product Committee (PC), composed of participants from across the user community representing a range of participant types, including banks, venues, the buy-side, custodians, trade associations, and who are ideally placed to consider data alignment practices of the DSB’s stakeholders.

The DSB PC’s efforts thus seek to better inform users on identified edge cases so that these can be addressed as the vast majority of OTC ISIN data is being consistently created and reported on a systematic basis.

The objectives of publishing the best practice documents are to not only assist participants in the creation of more consistent data, but to also ensure alignment between creators and consumers of the ISIN data. Over the last quarter of 2019, an increase in work with regards to data alignment has taken place at the DSB with a primary focus on OTC ISIN templates covering FX, Interest Rates and Commodities & Index CDS, as follows:

Industry-agreed Best Practice for OTC ISIN records

  1. FX
    1. How should settlement currency be used for non-standard FX Options and Forwards?
    2. How to generate/retrieve a FX Swap ISIN where the near leg has a Spot Tenor?
    3. Which FX Forward templates should be used for different types of currency?
    4. How should the expiry date be populated when generating or retrieving a FX Forward or non-deliverable FX Forward ISIN?
  2. Rates
    1. How to standardise the calculation of interest rate term of contract for broken date instruments?
    2. How to decide on which Interest Rate Basis (Float-Float) Swap template to use?
    3. How should the expiry date be populated when generating or retrieving a Forward Rate Agreement (FRA) ISIN?
  3. Other
    1. When to use Single Index and Multi-exotic Commodity derivative templates?
    2. How to use Index CDS templates when series and version are not applicable?

Industry participants should also note that in Q2 of 2020, the DSB will be making changes to Equity Option related templates and will be publishing best practice supporting the use of those templates in due course.

2020 Focus

“Getting it right” provides operational benefits for everyone, which in turn yields cost savings and allows resources to focus on more value-driven aspects of the business. The opportunities to assess ‘clean’ data are also considered paramount. As such, the topic of data alignment will continue to constitute a core part of the focus of the DSB going forward, from the perspective of industry use as well as data-driven observations.

As best practice evolves, the DSB will make updates to all guidance available on the DSB website in addition to reaching out separately to relevant trade associations to ensure information is propagated with their members. If industry participants have additional questions, or would like to indicate further areas in which best practice needs to be provided, please write to me or get in touch with


Published by: Malavika Solanki 

London, 4th March 2020 – The Derivatives Service Bureau (DSB),…

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