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

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February 16, 2009
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March 5, 2009

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:

  • ISIN
  • RIC Code

You can also download the presentation on this subject Security Identifiers


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 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


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

Example: 008000AA7 (more examples)


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


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  1. 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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  11. Eric says:

    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.

  12. Rui says:

    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

    • khader says:

      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.

  13. Rui says:

    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?

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  15. Rui Liu says:

    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?

    • khader says:

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

  16. Sriniwas says:

    Hi, Does anyone know why do some securities have more than one ISINs. And which one of them is the proper ISIN. Thanks.

  17. Name (required) says:

    Give all comparison in one table

  18. Jobert says:


    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.

  19. erfan says:

    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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