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Legal Entity Identifier (LEI)

The LEI is an unique 20 character reference code defined in the ISO 17442:2012 standard used to identify a legally distinct entity that engages in financial transactions. Endorsed by the G20, the LEI supports authorities and market participants globally in identifying and managing financial risks.

    • Background

      The LEI was developed after the 2008 financial crisis, when regulators and private sector risk managers identified the need for tools to improve their ability to quickly assess market participants' exposure to their counterparties and connections amongst affiliated entities. Answering the need for a global system to identify every legal entity transacting in financial markets and corresponding reference data about them, the Global Legal Entity Identifier System (GLEIS) allows financial regulators and firms to get a clearer picture of the true risk exposures across the financial system and contributes to the stability of the global financial markets.

      In June 2014, the Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF) was established as a not-for-profit organization overseen by the Regulatory Oversight Committee (ROC) with the purpose of managing and accrediting Local Operating Units (LOUs), which are endorsed institutions authorized to issue LEIs. The GLEIF is also recognized as providing the technical infrastructure necessary to unite and to make publicly available the LEI information published by the different LOUs around the world.

    • Why register for an LEI?

      The use of an LEI in transaction reporting improves the quality of financial data across the globe, allows for improved market surveillance and increases transparency amongst parties involved. Benefits to the financial industry resulting from the use of LEIs are clear, encouraging regulators worldwide to quickly adopt rules that are requiring entities to include LEIs in transaction reporting.

      Benefits for the registration of an LEI:

      • Adherence to growing regulations whereby LEIs are used to identify counterparties in a transaction (refer to the requirements for an LEI in Canada in the Related Information section below)
      • Improved communications and recognition between entities by the use of a common language understood globally
      • Improved business counterparties tracking, reducing risks resulting from incorrectly identified entities
      • Valuable risk management tool making the management of financial transactions more efficient
    • Why maintain an LEI?

      The reference data accompanying each LEI includes, at a minimum, the following information:

      1. the official name of the legal entity as recorded in the official registers;
      2. the registered address of that legal entity;
      3. the country of formation;
      4. codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions;
      5. the date of the first LEI assignment; the date of last update of the LEI information; and the date of expiry, if applicable.

      Keeping the accompanying data of an LEI current is essential to the success of this global initiative. Global users may challenge an LEI and/or its reference data at any time. LEI owners have the responsibility to keep their LEI and reference data in current status through annual maintenance.