The securities commission‘s industry classification system is woefully outdated. It requires all publicly traded filings to be tagged with a Standard Industry Classification (SIC) code. The standard was last updated in 1987, before NAFTA and the .com boom. It is commonly used by data providers, including Yahoo! and Morningstar. (Note: There exist several foreign classification systems also known as SIC which bear little resemblance to the classification system used by the SEC.) SIC was formerly maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau, but with the advent of NAICS, the North American Industry Classification System, a NAFTA project, SIC is no longer maintained. Obviously, the SEC needs to get with the program….
The United Nations maintains a classification system known as the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC).
Dow Jones and FTSE have collaborated on and maintain a proprietary industry classification called the Industry Classification Benchmark ™ (ICB), which is licensed by the New York Stock Exchange. ICB is proprietary.
The U.S. Census Bureau provides a data table for translation from SIC 1987 to NAICS 1997 and also one for translation from SIC 1987 to NAICS 2002. As far as I am aware, there is no one table available from the Census Bureau for directly translating from SIC 1987 to NAICS 2007, but there are tables for translating from NAICS 2002 to NAICS 2007. The Census Bureau also provides tables for translating from NAICS 2007 to ISIC 4.