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Converting Company Identifiers for Quoted Companies

24 April 2017 Leave a comment

Recently, we helped a PhD student use a company ID converter tool to find the GVKEY codes (one of the company IDs assigned by S&P) for a list of US companies which had been downloaded from Thomson Reuters DealScan that doesn’t provide GVKEYs. GVKEYs are required in order for her to download the necessary data variables from Compustat North America …

This isn’t a one off case. Researchers in business and finance normally require a range of company data variables which need to extracted from more than one databases. For different reasons, companies can be assigned more than one company IDs: IDs assigned by stock exchanges, such as tickers, SEDOLs; IDs assigned by databases, such as DS Code (Datastream), BVD Code (Bureau van Dijk), PERMNO (CRSP) , CUSIP (Standard & Poors), or ISIN.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one universal company ID system which is adopted by all databases. The most commonly used quoted company identifiers are ISINs (International Security Identification Numbers) and CUSIPs. Some databases may provide more than one IDs. For example, Datastream provides ISIN, CUSIP, Ticker etc. apart from its own proprietary Datastream Codes. If using Datastream, one can download a list of companies with DS Codes, ISIN or CUSIP as required. Other databases, for example, CRSP provides PERMCO, Ticker, and CUSIP.

To help users overcome this problem, some database suppliers may provide tools for users to convert one set of IDs to another. In CRSP, for example, one of the CRSP tools can help convert CUSIP to PERMNO or vice versa.

The best tool that I have come across so far is S&P Capital IQ’s company ID conversion tool: SPCIQ Identifier Converter. Embedded in Capital IQ’s Excel Plugin tools, Capital IQ’s Identifier Converter tool can provide ISIN, CUSIP, Ticker etc. if a company name is provided. In other words, you only need a list of company names and it could provide the required IDs for you if the companies are within Capital IQ’s coverage.

Below are the steps of how to use Capital IQ Identifier Converter after the Capital IQ Excel Plugins is installed.

In Microsoft Excel, with the CIQ plugin installed, from Templates, select and download SPCIQ Identifier Converter.xls:


Then run it from Templates – SPCIQ Plugin Tools – SPCIQ Identifier Converter:

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The caption below shows a list of sample companies with default company ID – Ticker with the embedded formula. Please note in the command line ticker field name is `IQ_Company_Ticker’.

If a different type of ID is needed, for example, GVKEY, then slight editing of the formula should do the job.


If you do not know whether Capital IQ provides the required company ID, run Formula Builder to confirm: eg: Click on Formula Builder, Search for GVKEY, GVKEY’s field name is `IQ_GVKEY’:


Then input the names (or paste in, from cell A12) – a list of companies for which you require GVKEY and click on `Search’ at the right top. Replace ‘IQ_Company_Ticker’ with ‘IQ_GVKEY’ in the command line and we get the list of companies with GVKEYs below:

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A related post: Company Identifiers in Datastream




Categories: Uncategorized