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Financial Databases and Research - Companies and industry classifications
Financial Databases and Research

Companies and industry classifications

Posted in General
Depending on the financial database companies are often classified according to one or more industry classification systems. This makes it easier to select a group of companies who offer products or services on the same market(s). Sometimes companies get more than one classification because they operate on more than one market. Most companies get at least a primary code which identifies the most important market on which they operate and sometimes also secondary codes. Companies that get more codes are usually larger and / or multinational corporations.

Classification systems can be divided in:
  • Geographical classifications
    National: Many countries use their own classification systems for the companies operating in their geographical area. Examples of these classifications are: UK SIC 03 (United Kingdom), NAF (France), WZ 03 (Germany + Austria), ATECO 02 (Italy), CNAE 93 rev1 (Spain), BIK 95 (Netherlands), NACE-BEL (Belgium), SNI-SE 02 (Sweden), TIC 96 (Japan), and Korea SIC (Korea).
    International: NACE 1.1 (European), US SIC (US + International), NAICS 97 (US + International)
  • Database specific classifications
    Examples: Zephus (Zephyr), SDC general classification (SDC Platinum).

It is not always easy to get a group of companies from one database based on industry codes because the search or browse options of a database are not always good or easy to use. However, an overview of codes is usually somewhere available either as a print or online document. Check the help or support information of a database to find out whether the classification system information is available.
For instance, databases which can be searched through Wharton (WRDS) usually have an overview of the classification codes as files in the Adobe (PDF), Excel (XLS) or Word (doc) format under the support information, see: Data manuals.

Unfortunately this is not much help if you need to find the same types of companies from databases that use different classification systems. The Amadeus database, however, has a very useful tool which allows you to translate codes from one classification system into those of another system. This tool is called: Cross-referencing of Industry Codes
You can find this tool by clicking the menu option Support.

Using this tool you can compare up to 10 codes (in one go) from one system into the corresponding codes from another system. You can then export the codes into Microsoft Excel to save them for later use.

Author information: LinkedIn

10:27 PM - 24 June 2008

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