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The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®)

Introducing Communication Services Sector in 2018

The last several years have seen rapid evolution in the way people communicate, access entertainment content and other information. This evolution is a result of the integration between telecommunications, media, and internet companies. Companies have moved further in this direction by consolidating through mergers and acquisitions and many now offer bundled services such as cable, internet services, and telephone services. Some of these companies also create interactive entertainment content and aggregate information that is delivered through multiple platforms such as cable and internet, as well as accessed on cellular phones.

Summary of changes

The Telecommunication Services Sector is broadened and renamed Communication Services to include companies that facilitate communication and offer related content and information through various media.

Internet & Direct Marketing Retail Sub-Industry under the Consumer Discretionary Sector is updated to include all online marketplaces for consumer products and services. The Sub-Industry includes e-commerce companies regardless of whether they hold inventory.

Companies currently classified in the Internet Software & Services Sub-Industry such as data centers, cloud networking, storage infrastructure, and web hosting services is moved to a new Sub-Industry called Internet Services & Infrastructure under the IT Services Industry. In addition, cloud-based software companies currently classified as Internet Software & Services are reclassified as Application Software. As a result, the existing Internet Software & Services Industry and Sub-Industry is discontinued.

These changes were implemented after the close of business (ET) on Friday, September 28, 2018 in GICS Direct and will be implemented in the MSCI Equity Indexes in one step as part of the November 2018 Semi-Annual Index Review.

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What we offer
  • In 1999, MSCI and S&P Dow Jones Indices developed the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), seeking to offer an efficient investment tool to capture the breadth, depth and evolution of industry sectors.
  • GICS is a four-tiered, hierarchical industry classification system.
  • It consists of 11 Sectors, 24 Industry Groups, 69 Industries and 158 Sub-Industries.
  • Companies are classified quantitatively and qualitatively. Each company is assigned a single GICS classification at the Sub-Industry level according to its principal business activity. MSCI and S&P Dow Jones Indices use revenues as a key factor in determining a firm’s principal business activity.
  • Earnings and market perception, however, are also recognized as important and relevant information for classification purposes, and are taken into account during the annual review process.

Find out more about the GICS structure & sub-industry definitions.

Why we’re a better choice
  • GICS is a common global classification standard used by thousands of market participants across all major groups involved in the investment process: asset managers, brokers (institutional and retail), custodians, consultants, research teams and stock exchanges
  • Standardized industry definitions are applied to companies globally
  • The structure precisely reflects the current state of industries in global investment markets
  • The classification consists of four levels of analysis, ranging from the most general sector to the most specific sub-industry
  • Annual reviews are conducted to ensure that classifications remain accurate and fully reflective of the changing global economy Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®)
How our offering helps them

GICS enables clients to:

  • Capture and assess the impact of global, regional or local industry trends on a portfolio
  • Compare and report on industry sector exposures versus peers or benchmarks
  • Pinpoint industry investment opportunities across developed and emerging markets
  • Analyze sector and industry contributions to portfolio performance
  • Construct consistently defined global or regional sector-based and sector rotation strategies

Modern index strategy

MSCI indexing offers a modern, seamless and fully integrated approach to measuring the full equity opportunity set, with no gaps or overlaps.

GICS Sector Definitions

Covering Energy, Materials, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Health Care, Financials, Information Technology, Real Estate, Telecommunication Services and Utilities Sector.


Learn why GICS is considered an industry standard.

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