FISN (ISO 18774)


Financial Instrument Short Name

The new standard for the Financial Instrument Short Name (ISO 18774) has been developed by ISO Work Group WG14 to provide a consistent and uniform approach to standardize short names and descriptions for financial instruments. The standard was approved by ballot in September 2014.

As of July 1 2017, the FISN will be globally assigned concurrently with the ISIN (ISO 6166) and CFI (ISO 10962) at the time of issuance of a new financial instrument.

The ISO 18774 standard incorporates the issuer short name and the abbreviated characteristics for the financial instrument. It has a maximum length of 35 alphanumeric characters.

Unlike other ISO-standard financial instrument identification codes, the FISN is not meant to be machine-readable, but to provide a short format for essential information about a security for human use.

The FISN is composed of:

  • – an “/” as the delimiter between issuer name and instrument description
  • an issuer name with a maximum length of 15 alphanumeric characters. To ensure uniformity, the same issuer short name should be used for different financial instruments of the same issuer.
  • – an instrument description with a maximum length of 19 alphanumeric characters, assuming that the available length of the issuer name has been fully used. In the event that all the 15 characters have not been used in the issuer short name, the remaining space may be used to describe the characteristics of the financial instrument.

FISN Characteristics

The new ISO 18774 standard provides rules defining how this description is to be formated.

As shown in red in the graphic below, the first part of the code is based on a standardized abbreviation of the issuer name, up to a maximum of 15 characters (e.g. “IBM”, “Microsoft”, “Kranzco Rlty Tr”, “DZ BANK AG”)

The next part, shown in blue, is a standardized short description of the instrument. The format of the subsequent segements reflects the type of financial instrument (debt, equity, fund, etc).

FISN diagram

Examples of FISN codes

There are rules for allocating FISNs for a variety of instrument types, including various derivatives. Here are two of the most common — equity shares and debt instruments.

1. Equity shares example

Ordinary shares of Commerzbank AG


Content: Full Issuer Name/Common  Shares

Shares (potential range of elements): Abbreviated instrument type description + Non-voting + Class + Series + Partly paid + Restrictions + Par Value

2. Debt example

Daimler Medium Term Note

FISN: Daimler AG/4.625 MTN 20140902MTP u

Content: Full Issuer Name/Interest rate 4.625, medium term note, maturity 2.0.2014, from Medium Term Note Program, unsecured

Debt (potential range of elements): Interest rate/Type + Abbreviated instrument type description + Maturity date + Rank + Pool Number + Class + Series + Tranche + Trust + Guarantee + Restrictions

Current Use of FISNs

Most financial institutions use some sort of internal short name to describe and/or identify a financial instrument for reporting, trading, account statements, etc. Until the FISN is available globally, some financial institutions have to generate this short name themselves, often involving high manual effort.

The new standard FISN would not only reduce this effort but also enable better communication between the financial institutions and their clients. The FISN is expected to be unique as it is unlikely that the combination of issuer name and abbreviated issue description would appear twice.