Origin of Reuters stock identification codes
Wednesday 19 August 2015
Further to the technical development glossary, one point worth mentioning is that the acronym SIC (Stock Identification Code) was first used on the Stockmaster system.
The Stockmaster desk unit consisted of four columns of alphabetic keys from A to Z plus a few other characters. The SIC code identified the stock name stored on the drum. This stock name comprised four-letter alphabetic codes encoded in Baudot five-level code. Thus any stock could be identified by this four-letter code and once the code had been keyed in on the desk unit the drum would search for coincidence of the code and return the appropriate data to the desk unit Nixi tube display. The same system was used for Videomaster on a CRT display.
The reason that Monitor page codes also consisted of four alpha characters is that the Monitor demonstration system used a Stockmaster desk unit and the banks to whom we demonstrated the concept chose their own page codes, e.g. BAXX for Barclays Bank, etc. When the Monitor system was developed for real I seem to remember that the first 30 banks who were involved wanted to use the original page codes used on the demo system. Hence it would appear that the good old SIC code developed by Ultronics way back in the 1960s had a very useful life for Monitor as well. ■