Securities Identification Codes: SYMBOL, CUSIP, ISIN, SEDOL, RIC Code

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I have been thinking of gettting some details of all the security codes together from a while. In this article I have explained some fundamental details of each identifier. These are heavily used in daily life of the technical and nontechnical staff of the financial firms.

List different security Identifier used in financial marktes are:

  • SYMBOL
  • CUSIP
  • ISIN
  • SEDOL
  • RIC Code

You can also download the presentation on this subject Security Identifiers

SYMBOL / TICKER / TICKER SYBMOL / STOCK SYMBOL

The SYMBOL is another unique identifies used to represent a particular security listed on an exchange or  traded publicly. Very commonly used for trading, market data and other places. All listed securities have  unique ticker symbol.

Some examples are: IBM, MSFT, GE etc.

ISIN

ISIN stands for “International Securities Identification Number”. It is used to uniquely identifies a security. It is originated from ISO 6166. ISIN is used to identify bonds, commercial paper, equities, warrants and most of the listed derivatives. The ISIN code is a 12 character alphanumerical code.

One distinction is that ISIN code doesn’t change by exchange or currency it trades. It is unique unlike symbol that may change based on exhcnage and currency.

To distinguish the exchange it has the same ISIN on each, though not the same ticker symbol. ISIN cannot specify a particular trading location in this case, and another identifier, typically MIC or the three-letter exchange code, will have to be specified in addition to the ISIN. The SEDOL board of the London Stock Exchange has revised their own standards to address this issue.

Example: LT0000610040

CUSIP

The CUSIP number or simply a CUSIP is another key identifier used finanical marketsm to uniquely identify the company or issuer and the type of security.
CUSIP stands for “Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures”.  The CUSIP number is mainly used for US and Canadian stocks, and US government and municipal bonds.

The CUSIP number is nine characters wide and its a combination of letters and numbers. The first six characters identify the issuer and are assigned in an alphabetical fashion; the seventh and eighth characters identify the type of issue; and the last digit is used as a check digit.

The CUSIP Service Bureau is operated by Standard & Poor’s on behalf of the American Bankers Association (ABA). You can learn more at http://www.cusip.com.

Example: 008000AA7 (more examples)

SEDOL

The SEDOL is used for all securities trading on the London Stock Exchange and other exchanges in the U.K. The SEDOL stands for “Stock Exchange Daily Official List” and it is seven characters wide. It is combination of letters and numbers.

Generally used to identify the UK securities that are not traded in US. Unique code is issued for each market  the security is listed on.  You should also know about MIC that is used to identify Markets(exchanges).

Example: B0WNLY7

RIC Code

The RIC stands for “Reuters Instrument Code”,used by Reuters to identify financial instruments and indices. The codes are used for looking up information on various Reuters financial information networks.

RIC code is mainly two parts. First part is a symbol and second part is exchange code which is optional. Second part is separated by period.

Example: MSFT.OQ representst the Microsoft on NASDAQ.

Additional Notes:

Sample CUSIPS (Just few details of some of the bonds issued by different corporations are given):

14149YAR9 – Corporate Bond – Cardinal Health Inc
126650BG4 – Corporate Bond -CVS Caremark Corp
254709AC2 – Corporate Bond -Discover Finl Services
437076AQ5 – Corporate Bond -Home Depot Inc
441060AG5 – Corporate Bond -Hospira Inc
50075NAN4 – Corporate Bond -Kraft Foods Inc
574599BE5 – Corporate Bond -Masco Corp
617446B99 – Corporate Bond -Morgan Stanley
637640AC7 – Corporate Bond -Natl Semicon Corp
713291AL6 – Corporate Bond -Pepco Hldgs Inc
852061AE0 – Corporate Bond -Sprint Nextel Corp
887317AA3 – Corporate Bond -Time Warner Inc
925524BF6 – Corporate Bond -Viacom
125509BG3 – Corporate Bond -Cigna Corp
125896AV2 – Corporate Bond -CMS Engy Corp

References

50 COMMENTS

  1. Susanne,

    SEDOL is used for all European securities. Regardless of where you are if you are dealing with any of those securities, SEDOL will become primary id for them.

    -Khader

  2. Khader,
    Thank you for your response.
    If I import an equity position with a SEDOL number that means I don’t need to import an extra exchange column (RIC code) because the SEDOL identifier includes the specific exchange, i.e. SEDOL 250281 represents a London Exchange traded equity as being Dairy Crest Group PLC. If Dairy Crest Group PLC were traded on the Frankfurt Exchange it would have a further different, SEDOL identifier, correct?

    Susanne

  3. Susanne,
    SEDOL is unique at country level. Along with SEDOL, MIC code is used identify the markets.
    Answer to your question – Yes. Frankfurt will have a different SEDOL.
    In real life we use multiple types of IDs and have the CROSS Reference tables. Depends on what you are doing, for instance when you are sending settlement instructions, you will send the type of ID that settlement agency is looking for.
    As a systems person you will use these cross reference tables and deal with all external systems.
    I hope you undestand the concept here. I have added more reference links on this topic. Please refer them.

    -Khader

  4. Hi Khader,

    It was brilliant presentation. I really help me in understanding the cycle.

    I wish you continue to post such kind of things on internet for general people like me who really benefit from it.

    Once again thanks.

    Sachin

  5. Hi ,
    Thanks for the information,I want know that after seeing the ISIN can we recogise whether its a bond or equity or convertable bond.

    Many thanks,
    Reddy

  6. Hi All

    I just wanted to confirm ISIN no of Reliance Industries Ltd.
    Plz help me to find ISIN no.

    Matin

  7. Is it possible to determine what country the security is listed in from SEDOL? Or is it possible to determine whether security is listed in EU/NON EU from SEDOL?

  8. Hi Khader,

    Question re: RICCODES.

    Is there a RICCODE index with which one could use to automatically assign the RICCODES to Market Tickers?

    I have been searching high and low and haven’t been able to find anything.

    Cheers
    Ryan

    • Master data is proprietary, so usually you don’t see the whole list in public domain. If you are working for some financial firm, they should be using some data vendor for market data and reference data needs. If you contact market data/reference data team they will be able to help you to obtain the full list.

  9. I CANNOT say enough THANKS for you for providing this information. I must have seen your site long time back. Thank God atleast I have seen it now.

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  10. Good article – thanks!
    I found a couple of typos, so in case you want to fix them I’ll post them here:
    “The SYMBOL is another unique identifies”
    “It is used to uniquely identifies”

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  16. Tickers are only unique to a single exchange. The same stock can have multiple tickers at the same time and the same ticker can indicate different stocks on different exchanges. A ticker can change over time for one stock as well.

    So in general it’s not a great way to keep track of things.

  17. I have a question about ISIN, if one company is listed in different exchange then it should have different ISIN, right? As the first two digits represent the county.

    So it is not unique for a company as a company that listed in different countries it should have different ISINs. Securities does not equal comapnies. Is my understanding right?

    Thank you

    • Yes. You are right. ISIN of a given security is same across the borders. However, ticker symbol varies by trading location. Typically, ISIN is used primarily for clearing and settlement.

      Hope this helps.

  18. Thank you! So if a company is listed in two different exchange we can say that company has two stocks or two securities, right? Also what does security include? equity, futures contract, commodity, option, bonds and ETF?

  19. I wonder if there is a standard symbol for RMBS. I currently look into an RMBS data and find the security name is named like BAFC 2008-1 M8 what does this mean? Any corresponding isin to it?

    • Usually most MBS are identified by CUSIP. You should be able to find corresponding CUSIP in your security reference database. Hope it helps.

  20. Hello,

    In a new single order message, can i send both isin and cusip? My understanding is that you can’t add duplicate tags. Maybe an order list?

    Thank you.

  21. I have a question on ISIN; are ISINs unique for Options? for example say you have a 10 unique options for Stock A, each with different strike price and/or maturity. will each option carry its own unique ISIN or will the ISIN for Stock A be the ISIN for all the 10 Options?

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