ANNA: Market Metadata and the Uneven Infrastructures of Financial Assetization


Presented research on the Association of National Numbering Agencies and the role financial market meta data plays in the spatial organization of financial markets.


Before assets can be traded on global, digitized marketplaces they are codified, classified, and numbered. As Birch and Munisea (2020) argue, assets are not given, they are constructed through socio-technical processes. Financial assets are social-technically constructed through the production and management of metadata standards. In information systems, metadata schema are high levels of abstraction that formally represent entities and possible relationships in specific domains (Pomerantz 2015). Standards such as ISIN (ISO 6166), CFI (ISO 10962), MIC (ISO 10383), FISN (ISO 18774) and LEI (ISO 17442) describe the metadata schema that classify and uniquely identify securities in order to facilitate international transactions. The Association of National Numbering Agencies (ANNA) is the organization responsible for codifying, implementing, and maintaining the metadata standards that represent financial asset classes such as bonds, stocks, derivatives and other securities. As an association of securities exchanges, central depositories, clearing houses, and financial information providers, ANNA’s role is managing the assignment of unique International Securities Identification Numbers (ISINs) to globally tradable securities. As ANNA’s website states: “ANNA Numbers the world”. To ensure that all countries are integrated into digitized financial infrastructures, all countries either operate their own national numbering agency or work with one of four numbering agencies headquartered in the Global North. These Identification codes comprise a critical technical framework underlying global financial exchange infrastructure. This analysis of ANNA member profiles traces the infrastructural power of metadata schema in globalized finance with quantitative methods and textual analysis. Despite performances of globalness, ANNA remains regionally controlled by European and American institutions.


Metadata, assetization, financial ontologies, geographies, infrastructure