Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is ISIN?

ISIN or International Securities Identification Number is a 12 character alpha-numeric code that uniquely identifies a security, across the world. The securities include shares, bonds, warrants etc. For example, the ISIN of Bharti Airtel is INE397D01024.

ISIN constitutes of three parts. It starts with a two letter country code. In the case of Bharti Airtel the country code is IN (India). The country code is according to the ‘ISO 3166-1 alpha-2’ standard.

The country code is followed by a nine character alpha-numeric national security identification code assigned to a security by the governing bodies in each country. In the case of Bharti Airtel, the national security identification code is ‘E397D0102’. This is followed by a single character check digit, which will validate the ISIN code. The detail of how this validation is done is illustrated here.

In a time when security trading across countries has become rampant, having a unique identifier for a security greatly helps traders as well as brokers in various countries to unambiguously identify and trade a security.

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