Subject: Trading - Security Identification Systems

Last-Revised: 8 Aug 2000
Contributed-By: Chris Lott (contact me), Peter Andersson (peter at

This article lists some of the identification systems used to assign unique numbers to securities that are traded on the various exchanges around the world.

    A numbering system used to identify securities issued by U.S. and Canadian companies. Every stock, bond, and other security has a unique, 9-digit CUSIP number chosen according to this system. The first six digits identify the issuer (e.g., IBM); the next two identify the instrument that was issued by IBM (e.g., stock, bond); and the last digit is a check digit. The system was developed in the 1960's by the Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures (CUSIP), which is part of the American Banker's Association. For a full history and all the gory details of the numbering system, see their web site:

  • CINS
    The CUSIP International Numbering System (CINS) is a close cousin to CUSIP. Like CUSIP, it is a 9-digit numbering scheme that is used by the US finance industry. Unlike CUSIP, the numbers are used to identify securities that are traded or issued by companies outside the
    US and Canada.

  • EPIC
    Commonly used on the UK stock market.

  • ISID
    The International Securities Identification Directory (ISID) is a cross reference for the many different identification schemes in use. ISID Plus seems to be an expanded version of ISID (allowing more characters in the identifier).

  • ISIN
    An International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) code is standardized by ISO 6166. The code consists of an alpha country code (country codes according to ISO 3166) or XS for securities numbered by CEDEL or Euroclear, a 9-digit alphanumeric code based on the national securities code or the common CEDEL/Euroclear code, and a check digit.

    The Association of National Numbering Agencies (ANNA) makes available International Securities Identification Numbers (ISIN) in a uniform structure. More information is available at:

    A numbering system used in Japan (anyone know more?).

  • RIC
    Reuters Identification Code, used within the Reuters system to identify instruments worldwide. Contains an X character market specific code (can be the CUSIP or EPIC codes) followed by .YY where YY stand for the two digit country code. i.e IBM in UK would be IBM.UK. More information is available at

    Stock Exchange Daily Official List. The stock code used to identify all securities issued in the UK or Eire. This code is the basis of the ISIN code for UK securities and consists of a 7-digit number allocated by the master file service of the London Stock Exchange.

    A 5-digit code allocated to French securities (Socie'te' Interprofessionelle pour la Compensation des Valeurs Mobili`eres).

  • Valoren
    Telekurs Financial, the Swiss numbering agency, assigns Valoren numbers to identify financial instruments. This seems to be the CUSIP of Switzerland.
For much more information, visit the handbook of world stock, derivative and commodity exchanges (subscription required):

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