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Classification of Financial Instruments (CFI) - ISO 10962

The CFI code has been developed to address a number of problems which have concerned the financial community on the past years. Among others the following problems have affected the financial community:

  • Lack of consistent and uniform approach to grouping financial instruments
  • Use of similar terminology for instruments having significantly different features in the different countries
  • Inability to group securities in a consistent manner leading to reports of holdings being categorized differently.

The benefits of the code are:

  • Definition and description for an internationally valid system to classify financial instruments
  • Provision of a set of codes to be used by all market participants in an EDP environment and permission of electronic communication between participants
  • Improved understanding of the characteristics of financial instruments will lead to a better understanding by investors.

The structure of the CFI code:

The CFI reflects characteristics that are defined when a financial instrument is issued and remain unchanged during its entire lifetime.

The CFI consists of six alphabetical characters: The first character indicates the highest level of classification (categories).

Categories:

  • Equities (E)
  • Collective investment vehicles (C)
  • Debt instruments (D)
  • Entitlement (rights) (R)
  • Listed options (O)
  • Futures (F)
  • Swaps (S)
  • Non-listed and complex listed options (H)
  • Spot (I)
  • Forwards (J)
  • Strategies (K)
  • Financing (L)
  • Referential instruments (T)
  • Others (miscellaneous) (M)

The second character indicates specific groups within each category:

Groups e.g. for equities:

  • Common/ordinary shares
  • Preferred/preference shares
  • Common/ordinary convertible shares
  • Preferred/preference convertible shares
  • Limited partnership units
  • Depositary receipts on equities
  • Structured instruments (participation)
  • Others (miscellaneous)

The third to sixth character indicate the most important attributes to each group:

Attributes e.g. for equities:

  • Voting right
  • Ownership/transfer restrictions
  • Payment status
  • Form