Securities across the world are identified by different kind of numbers. Some of the most popular identifier for securities is as follows:
ISIN Codes: An International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) is a unique international code issued to identify a security. International Standards Organisation (ISO) was the brain child behind this number which wanted to harmonize the array of country-specific numbering systems that had grown up at the domestic level. The Association of National Numbering Agencies (ANNA), acting on behalf of ISO, is responsible for appointing a National Numbering Agency in each country that bears responsibility for allocating a unique security identification number to each security.
The ISIN consists of a total of 12 characters. The first two characters represent the ISO two-letter country code. The next nine characters represent the local number of the security concerned, with a final check digit so that systems can validate the number. In the case of depository receipts such as ADRs, the instrument takes its country code from the
organization that issued the receipt, rather than the one that issued the underlying security.
For example, the Acer Taiwan stock mentioned earlier has an ISIN of TW0002306008 for the Taiwanese share and GB0057226440 for the GDR.
Local Securities Identifiers: The local securities identifier number allocated to a security is based on numbering conventions that have evolved within individual markets. For example:
A SEDOL (or Stock Exchange Daily Official List) number is a securities identifier issued by the London Stock Exchange and Irish Stock Exchange to provide unique identification of instruments
traded in the UK and Ireland and on a global basis. This code forms the basis of the ISIN code for UK securities and consists of a 7-digit alphanumeric code allocated by the master file service of
the London Stock Exchange. Until 5 January 2004, SEDOL codes had a 7-digit numeric format. However, given the number of requests for new SEDOL codes, and concerns that the 7-digit numeric format was reaching its capacity, a decision was taken to move to the new 7-character alphanumeric code.
A CUSIP (or Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures) number is used to identify securities issued in the US and Canada. The CUSIP number is allocated by the CUSIP Service Bureau. The CUSIP Service Bureau is operated by Standard and Poor's on behalf of the American Bankers' Association (ABA).
Other national conventions include:
• SVM code, employed in Belgium.
• WKN code, employed in Germany.
• Valoren code, employed in Switzerland.
• ASX code, employed in Australia.
Once a local identifier has been allocated, it is possible to derive the global ISIN identifier, using the convention outlined above. A stock ticker is typically an identifier code used to identify a security when it trades on a stock market or in the OTC market. For example, the stock ticker for UK-listed telecoms Vodafone Group plc is VOD, the ticker for StatPro Group plc is SOG, and the ticker for the iShares DJ Euro STOXX MidCap Exchange Traded Fund is DJMC.
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