CUSIP Number

What is the 'CUSIP Number'

The CUSIP number is a unique identification number assigned to all stocks and registered bonds in the U.S. and Canada, and it is used to create a concrete distinction between securities that are traded on public markets. The Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures (CUSIP) oversees the entire CUSIP system. Foreign securities have a similar number called the CINS number.

BREAKING DOWN 'CUSIP Number'

While assigned stock symbols are also unique, a CUSIP number is better suited to use by most computerized systems of trading and record keeping.

The CUSIP System

The CUSIP system is owned by the American Bankers Association in conjunction with Standard & Poor’s. The system is in place to facilitate the settlement process and the clearance of associated securities.

The CUSIP is composed of nine characters, can be composed of letters and numbers, and is assigned to any and all stocks, as well as registered bonds, that are sold or traded within the United States and Canada. The first six characters represent the original issuer of the associated security while the seventh and eighth characters denote the type of issue, and the ninth digit serves as a check digit and ensures a unique final identifier.

These numbers are used to help facilitate trades and settlements by providing a constant identifier to help distinguish the securities within a trade. Each trade and the corresponding CUSIP number is recorded, helping to track the actions and activities that have taken place.

Locating a CUSIP Number

CUSIP numbers are publicly available, and can be accessed through the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) via the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system. Additionally, the information is often listed on official statements relating to the security, such as on confirmations of purchase or periodic financial statements, or can be accessed through various securities dealers.

ISIN Numbers

Expanding beyond the CUSIP system is the International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) system. ISINs are used internationally, with most U.S. and Canadian securities being labeled with an additional two character prefix and one final check character attached at the end of the originally issued CUSIP.

Additionally, information regarding the currency of the specified security is also required to facilitate proper processing and recording. This has helped establish an international system for the clearance of securities. While it is not yet used world-wide, the ISIN system has gained traction across foreign markets as a way to simplify trading processes, especially when dealing with international investing.