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I currently use my bank for brokering services, as I don't have enough capital to justify going on my own. The bank told me that they need an ISIN if I want them to purchase stock (call)options for me. However, after extensive googling, I couldn't find any place where I can find these ISINs.

Is there a website where I can find available option contracts? I'm currently searching for nVidia but on the NASDAQ website I only found an Option Chain, which I don't know how to use or interpret. I can read up on things, but I still need a source so I can examine my options for... options :).

LATER EDIT: actually I've seen that if I select one of the entries in the Options Chain, I get to a page which perhaps holds the ISIN? For example this is an entry in Google's chain:

http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/goog/option-chain/160513C00642500-goog-call

Is it the number at the end?

Alphabet Inc. May 13 2016 642.50 Call(@GOOG 160513C00642500)

  • I added a page on my site to validate these codes. If there's anything I missed, or you have suggestions, let me know. Validate US Equity Option Code – Mike Aug 21 '17 at 20:27
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Because an equity option can be constructed at essentially any price by two willing counterparties on an exchange, there are not enough ISINs to represent the entire (i.e. infinite) option chain for even a single stock on a single expiration date. As a result, ISINs are not generated for each individual possible options contract. Instead the ISIN is used only to refer to the "underlying" symbol, and a separate formula is used to refer to the specific option contract for that symbol:

16    - last two digits of expiration year
05    - expiration month
13    - expiration day
C/P   - call or put
00642 - dollars in strike price (00000-99999)
500   - decicents in strike price (001-999, but usually ending in 0 or 5)

So that code you pasted is not an ISIN but rather the standard US equity option naming scheme that you need to provide in addition to the ISIN when talking to your broker.

Note that ISINs and formulas for referring to option contracts in other countries can behave quite differently. Also, there are many countries and markets that don't need ISINs because the products in question only exist on a single exchange. In those cases the exchange is pretty much free to make up whatever ID scheme it wants.

P.S. Now I'm curious how option chains are identified for strike prices above $99,999. I looked up the only stock I can think of that trades above that price (BRK.A), but it doesn't seem to have an option chain (or at least Google doesn't show it) ...

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Go to http://www.isincodes.net/, and enter your data.

For example entering Alphabet gives you the ISIN US02079K1079 (for standard US shares).

If you want to understand the number format (and build them yourself), check wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Securities_Identification_Number

  • That is the ISIN for the equity and not for options. I don't think ISIN's are issued for options as I haven't seen it anywhere. – DumbCoder May 19 '16 at 15:39
  • if you search for options, you find them there too (you need to know what they are called). Try typing 'Google' and you find some German options for Google. – Aganju May 19 '16 at 16:09
  • I just checked DE000CM4ASD9 from the website on euronext and FSE, there is no record. I am not sure how the ISINs are generated and if they are valid. – DumbCoder May 19 '16 at 16:17
  • The only thing I don't like about this Q&A format is that I can't select two answers. Both answers here are very good. I liked dg99's explanation but your links are also very important. Then again, I think me giving you a sincere THANK YOU is more important than a few extra reputation points :). – Axonn May 20 '16 at 17:12

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