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Guide to Finance Resources - Literature and Data

Company Identifiers

Almost every data vendor has a unique way of identifying companies in their database.  When dealing with public companies, the ticker and/or CUSIP can also be downloaded.  Tickers and CUSIPs are not unique to each data vendor and can be used to get data from different vendors. Below is a table of different vendors and often used company identifiers.  For instance -the pricing database uses PERMNO & Compustat uses GVKEYS and they both can download tickers and CUSIPs.  Tickers are unreliable as they can change and be reused so CUSIPs are the preferred identifier.  

Below is a summary of identifiers and data vendors

Bloomberg -> CUSIP 9 digits & Ticker

Compustat -> CUSIP 9 digits & Ticker & can link to PERMNO &  GVKEY

CRSP -> CUSIP 8 digits & Ticker &  PERMNO  & can link to  GVKEY

Refinitiv (Datastream) -> modified CUSIP 9 digits & modified ticker & (for Tickers add U: for NYSE and AMEX and @ for Nasdaq and U: for 9 digit CUSIPs)

Execucomp -> CUSIP 8 digits & Ticker & can link to PERMNO & GVKEY

OptionMetrics -> CUSIP 8 digits & Ticker 

SDC (mergers) -> CUSIP 6 digits & Ticker

SDC (Global new issues) -> CUSIP 9 digits & Ticker

To link to/from GVKEY and PERMNO, in WRDS use CRSP/Compustat merged. 


More information on CUSIPs: 

Many financial data packages use CUSIP as the identifier.  The first 6 digits of a CUSIP identify the company, digits 7-8 describe the security and the 9th is check digit. 

Converting from 8 or 9 digit CUSIPS to 6,8 or 9 digits can be done with:

Converting from 6 digits to 8 or 9 is harder, because now not only is the information about the company but also tied to a security. The first equity security issued by a company gets 10, additional issues increment by 10. If a company has bonds the first 6 numbers again designate the company but bonds are identified with letters.

  • In most cases, for companies that have publicly traded equity adding 10 to the 6 digit company identifier will return the common stock and the underlying company data.  If this does not yield positive results, try adding 20 instead of 10.  If adding increments of 10 does not work, the last resort is looking up the company by name. 


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Barbara Coffey
Firestone A-12-J-1