In many occasions we have textual labels in structured data. The case we considered in this paper is the industry designations to companies. While there are standard to govern the industry designation, its use is found to be arbitrary.

There are two common industry designations, namely, the Moody’s 35 Industry Categories1 and the Global Industry Classification Standard2. Alternatives includes the TRBC3, NAICS4, ISIC5, and others. In the loan market, for example, usually required to have the Moody’s 35 and GICS designation for the loan issuers in order to obtain a credit rating from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s respectively. However for various reasons, the industry designation we see from vendors of financial data are not standardized. There may be typos, abbreviations, and other kind of variations. Some are even misidentified.

It is trivial to see the merit of standardizing the correcting the industry designation in the process of data cleaning before analysis of data. A naive way of doing so will be correcting them by hand: Taking the Moody’s 35 as an example, there is only a fixed set of 35 industry designations so we can manually reassign the correct industry tags (a textual label) based on the existing industry designation from the data source. This will be tedious but not a difficult task to a human being.

In the following, we consider this simple task of normalizing the industry designation text label into its canonical form. We use a vector space model to find the corresponding canonical representation and alert if we are less certain. We evaluate the performance with real data.

# Overview of the industry designation data

We pick the Moody’s industry designation as the testbed because it is a simple categorization and commonly used. Unlike some other standards such as the GICS, Moody’s industry categories are not put into hierarchies and their granularity is not too coarse or fine for this study. The names of the 35 industries are listed as follows:

AEROSPACE & DEFENSE,
AUTOMOTIVE,
BANKING,
BEVERAGE, FOOD, & TOBACCO,
CAPITAL EQUIPMENT,
CHEMICALS, PLASTICS, & RUBBER,
CONSTRUCTION & BUILDING,
CONSUMER GOODS: DURABLE,
CONSUMER GOODS: NON-DURABLE,
CONTAINERS, PACKAGING, & GLASS,
ENERGY: ELECTRICITY,
ENERGY: OIL & GAS,
ENVIRONMENTAL INDUSTRIES,
FIRE: FINANCE,
FIRE: INSURANCE,
FIRE: REAL ESTATE,
FOREST PRODUCTS & PAPER,
HEALTHCARE & PHARMACEUTICALS,
HIGH TECH INDUSTRIES,
HOTEL, GAMING, & LEISURE,
MEDIA: DIVERSIFIED & PRODUCTION,
METALS & MINING,
RETAIL,
SERVICES: CONSUMER,
SOVEREIGN & PUBLIC FINANCE,
TELECOMMUNICATIONS,
TRANSPORTATION: CARGO,
TRANSPORTATION: CONSUMER,
UTILITIES: ELECTRIC,
UTILITIES: OIL & GAS,
UTILITIES: WATER,
WHOLESALE

While the 35 industries are flat categorization (i.e., mutually exclusive, non-hierarchical), some are closely related and sometimes combined. An example is “FIRE” – finance, insurance, and real estate. We occasionally see the designation FIRE: BANKING, FINANCE, INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE is used.

Besides, we can also expect sensible variation being used as such designation is usually presented as a free-form text label. Examples include different abbreviations, capitalizations, punctuation, spaces, word order, or substitution of symbol ‘&’ with the word ‘AND’. Furthermore, we should not rule out the possibilities of wrong labeling. Such as using the GICS industry labels in place of the Moody’s industry categorization while the latter is explicitly intended.

# Algorithm

With the different possibilities of labelling in mind, we intended to find an algorithm to fit the following goals:

1. Match the different variations of an industry label to its canonical form
2. Provide a confidence measure on the algorithm output; such measure should give a higher score on minimal variations and lower if drastically different

This problem is closely related to information retrieval if we consider each of the 35 industry labels as documents and words in the labels as terms. Matching a label with variation to its canonical form is like treating the input label as search terms and find the closest matched document. Therefore we can apply the established techniques of information retrieval in our algorithm:

We remove punctuation and stop words from both the search terms. Then we use vector space model to find the cosine similarity of the search terms to the documents and report the one with highest similarity. Since cosine similarity is used as the confidence measure, the score is between 0 and 1.

Because the set of documents and hence the corpus are both finite, we can model the query as a vector in $$\mathbb{R}^n$$, which an element $$v_k$$ of the vector $$\mathbf{v}$$ corresponds to term $$k$$ in the corpus, and the total size of corpus is $$n$$. A document is modeled by a vector of the same shape as well. In vector space model, the similarity of a query $$\mathbf{v}^{(q)}$$ to a document $$\mathbf{v}^{(d)}$$ is presented by the cosine formula:

$\cos\theta = \frac{\mathbf{v}^{(q)}\cdot \mathbf{v}^{(d)}}{\lVert \mathbf{v}^{(q)}\rVert_2 \lVert \mathbf{v}^{(d)}\rVert_2}$

Hence, for a given query (i.e., a label), we find the best matched one from the document set (i.e., canonical form) and the cosine similarity value is presented as the confidence measure.

They value of element $$v_k$$ of a vector $$\mathbf{v}$$ is defined as follows.

We assign a fixed order of the corpus, identified by subscripts 1 to $$n$$. Then we compare any term to every term in the corpus using the Levenshtein distance, which counts the edit distance between the two, and set the value $$v_k$$ as

$v_k = \frac{1}{1+L^2}$

The above formula is to normalize the similarity to the range of $$[0,1]$$ which exact match would have similarity of 1. $$L$$ is the Levenshtein distance and we take it to the power 2 to penalize more on larger difference.

Note that this is only for one term. For a particular query $$Q$$ of several terms, we calculate $$v_k$$ for each term against every vocabulary $$k$$ in the corpus and the vector for the whole query is created by picking the max $$v_k$$ amongst the terms in $$Q$$. This method of converting a query into vector also applies to converting documents into vectors.

## On TF-IDF

Quite often when we use the vector space model, the vector is created such that each element $$v_k$$ is the tf-idf weight6 of term $$k$$. A common way of using tf-idf would be:

\begin{align} \textrm{tf}(t,d) &= \log(1+f_{t,d}) \\ \textrm{idf}(t,D) &= \log(1+N/n_t) \\ \textrm{tf-idf} &= \textrm{tf}(t,d) \textrm{idf}(t,D) \end{align}

However, the issue of misspelling and abbreviations is not addressed by the tf-idf model. We would need to apply a correction mechanism as a preprocessing step.

# Evaluation and discussion

The above algorithm is implemented as follows, in Julia:

using LinearAlgebra
using DataFrames

# Moody's 35 Industries
MD35 = [
"AEROSPACE & DEFENSE",
"AUTOMOTIVE",
"BANKING",
"BEVERAGE, FOOD, & TOBACCO",
"CAPITAL EQUIPMENT",
"CHEMICALS, PLASTICS, & RUBBER",
"CONSTRUCTION & BUILDING",
"CONSUMER GOODS: DURABLE",
"CONSUMER GOODS: NON-DURABLE",
"CONTAINERS, PACKAGING, & GLASS",
"ENERGY: ELECTRICITY",
"ENERGY: OIL & GAS",
"ENVIRONMENTAL INDUSTRIES",
"FIRE: FINANCE",
"FIRE: INSURANCE",
"FIRE: REAL ESTATE",
"FOREST PRODUCTS & PAPER",
"HEALTHCARE & PHARMACEUTICALS",
"HIGH TECH INDUSTRIES",
"HOTEL, GAMING, & LEISURE",
"MEDIA: DIVERSIFIED & PRODUCTION",
"METALS & MINING",
"RETAIL",
"SERVICES: CONSUMER",
"SOVEREIGN & PUBLIC FINANCE",
"TELECOMMUNICATIONS",
"TRANSPORTATION: CARGO",
"TRANSPORTATION: CONSUMER",
"UTILITIES: ELECTRIC",
"UTILITIES: OIL & GAS",
"UTILITIES: WATER",
"WHOLESALE"
]

STOPWORDS = Set(["AND", "FIRE"])

"""Remove all non-alphabet characters in string and then convert the string into set of tokens"""
function tokenize(str)
return setdiff(Set(split(replace(uppercase(str), r"[^a-zA-Z]" => " "))), STOPWORDS)
end

"""Levenshtein distance to update str1 to str2"""
function levenshtein(str1, str2)
# i==0; dist[j] = distance from str1[1:0] to str2[1:j-1]
dist = collect(0:length(str2))
# update iteratively (on i) to make dist[j] to reflect the dist from str1[1:i] to str2[1:j-1]
for i in 1:length(str1)
prev = dist[1]  # always hold the cost of str1[1:i-1] to str2[1:0]
dist[1] = i     # str1[:i] to str2[1:0] = delete i chars
for j in 1:length(str2)
prevsave = dist[j+1]  # prevsave = cost of str1[1:i-1] to str2[1:j]
subcost = (str1[i] == str2[j]) ? 0 : 1
# at this point:
# in dist[1:j]: dist[k] is the distance from str1[1:i] to str2[1:k-1]
# in dist[j+1:end]: dist[k] is the distance from str1[:i-1] to str2[:k-1]
dist[j+1] = min(
dist[j+1]+1, # delete: str1[:i] to str1[:i-1] to str2[:j]
dist[j]+1,   # insert: str1[:i] to str2[:j-1] to str2[:j]
prev+subcost # substitute: str1[:i] to str1[:i-1] to str2[:j-1] to str2[:j]
)
prev = prevsave
end
end
return dist[end]
end

"""similarity score of a two string, case insensitive"""
function similarity(str1, str2)
1/(1+levenshtein(str1, str2)^2)
end

"""Return a vector representation of the industry string Length is len(CORPUS) and value of each element is in
[0,1]
"""
function vector(industry)
# create columns of similarity to each of word in CORPUS
vec = hcat([[similarity(t, c) for c in CORPUS] for t in tokenize(industry)]...)
# find the max similarity for each word in CORPUS
vec, dims = findmax(vec, dims=2)
return vec
end

"""Find the cosine similarity between two vectors"""
function cosine(vec1, vec2)
return dot(vec1, vec2) / (norm(vec1) * norm(vec2))
end

"""Push down something too small into zero"""
function clip(vector, threshold)
vector[vector .<= threshold] .= 0
return vector
end

# Collect the corpus of industry names, then create the vector representation of
# the standard names (with clipping)
CORPUS = sort(collect(tokenize(join(MD35, " "))))
MD35 = Dict(k => clip(vector(k), 0.001) for k in MD35)

"""Return the similarity score and Moody's industry for the best match of input industry string"""
function bestmatch(industry)
indvec = vector(industry)
score, indname = findmax(Dict(kv[1] => cosine(kv[2], indvec) for kv in MD35))
return score, titlecase(get(ALIASES, indname, indname))  # name in title-case
end

We collected a list of Moody’s industry designations from loan market, of 637961 entries, in 115 distinct forms. Some typical examples and the number of occurrences are as follows:

designation count
Chemicals, Plastics & Rubber 31096
Chemicals, Plastics and Rubber 6
Chemicals, Plastics, & Rubber 3
Chemicals 1
Consumer Goods Non-durable 2
Consumer goods: Durable 10459
Consumer goods: Non-durable 13163
Drugs 27
Ecological 1
Prsnl & Non-Drbl Consmr Prdt 5
Retail 26704
Retail Stores 4

When we run the bestmatch() on theses designations, the score and result are as follows:

input score output
Chemicals, Plastics & Rubber 1.0 Chemicals, Plastics, & Rubber
Chemicals, Plastics and Rubber 1.0 Chemicals, Plastics, & Rubber
Chemicals, Plastics, & Rubber 1.0 Chemicals, Plastics, & Rubber
Chemicals 0.595451 Chemicals, Plastics, & Rubber
Consumer goods: Durable 1.0 Consumer Goods: Durable
Consumer Goods Non-durable 1.0 Consumer Goods: Non-Durable
Consumer goods: Non-durable 1.0 Consumer Goods: Non-Durable
Drugs 0.445331 Energy: Oil & Gas
Ecological 0.36658 Energy: Oil & Gas
Prsnl & Non-Drbl Consmr Prdt 0.606927 Consumer Goods: Non-Durable
Retail 1.0 Retail
Retail Stores 0.99868 Retail

We can see the result is quite reasonable: Simple variations are matched perfectly with a high score. It can even correctly match “Prsnl & Non-Drbl Consmr Prdt” (Personal & Non-durable consumer product) to “Consumer Goods: Non-Durable”. For cases of incorrect mapping, such as “Ecological” to “Energy: Oil & Gas”, it gives a low score. Hence we can safely disregard the matched result by imposing a threshold on the score, such as 0.6. All such input should be mapped manually. For instance, “Drugs” should be mapped to “Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals”. This cannot be done by the our algorithm because we did not establish the ontological relationship between “drugs” and “pharmaceuticals”.

In fact, the threshold used depends on how we set the value $$v_k$$. If we use a different formula for $$v_k$$, the performance as well as the threshold would be changed.