International Securities Identification Number

International Securities Identification Number

MFN can assist with the application for an International Securities Identification Number, or ISIN for short, is a standard code used worldwide to identify specific securities such as stocks (common and preferred), bonds, notes, debentures, futures, warrant, rights, trusts, commercial paper and options. ISIN numbers are obtained by companies in order to assign to its securities a recognizable code worldwide for identification purposes. ISIN codes are used to facilitate unambiguous clearing and settlement throughout the world’s many brokerage houses and stock exchanges. International Securities Identification Numbers are composed of a 12-digit alphanumeric code and act to unify, or simplify, different ticker symbols – which can vary by exchange and currency – for the same security.

In the United States and possibly Canada, ISIN numbers are extended versions of 9-character CUSIP (Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures) numbers; ISINs can be formed by adding a country code and check digit to the beginning and end of a CUSIP, respectively.

MFN is the world leading firm specializing in ISIN number and stock and bond offering assistance.


There are three parts to an International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) as exemplified by US-049580485-1 (the dashes are not counted as they are put in place for clarity purposes). The ISIN code can be broken down as follows:

  • A two-letter country code, drawn from a list (ISO 6166) prepared by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This code is assigned according to the location of a company’s head office. A special code, “XS” is used for international securities cleared through pan-European clearing systems like Clearstream, Euroclear and CEDEL. Depository receipt ISIN usage is unique in that the country code for the security is that of the receipt issuer, not that of the underlying security.


  • A nine-digit numeric identifier, called the National Securities Identifying Number (NSIN). If a national number is composed of less than nine digits, it is padded with leading zeros to become a NSIN. The numeric identifier has no intrinsic meaning – it is essentially a serial number.


  • A single check-digit. The digit is calculated based upon the preceding 11 characters/digits and uses a sum modulo 10 algorithm and helps ensure against counterfeit numbers.

Get in touch with MFN for more information on ISIN number codes.


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