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The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®)

Renaming the Telecommunication Services Sector as Communication Services

The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®) has introduced major changes within the Telecommunication Services Sector.

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.

In light of the changes in the telecommunications sector there will be a number of revisions to the GICS® structure which will be implemented after the close of business (ET) on Friday, September 28, 2018 in GICS Direct. The changes will be implemented in the MSCI Equity Indexes in one step as part of the November 2018 Semi-Annual Index Review.

Summary of changes

The Telecommunication Services Sector is being broadened and renamed as Communication Services to include companies that facilitate communication and offer related content and information through various media. The renamed Sector will include the existing telecommunication companies, as well as companies selected from the Consumer Discretionary Sector currently classified under the Media Industry Group and the Internet & Direct Marketing Retail Sub-Industry, along with select companies currently classified in the Information Technology Sector.

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What we offer
  • In 1999, MSCI and S&P Global 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, 68 industries and 157 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 Global 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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