The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF), a not-for-profit organization established in 2014 following the G20’s request to the Financial Stability Board to provide suggestions for a global Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) and a supporting governance structure, subsequently leading to the Global LEI System (GLEIS), providing unique identification of legal entities participating in financial transactions worldwide by issuing LEIs and having an open LEI system.
GLEIF’s mission is to oversee the operational integrity of the Global LEI System. The foundation is governed by the LEI Regulatory Oversight Committee (LEI ROC), an organization of public authority representatives worldwide. The issuers of LEI, otherwise known as Local Operating Units (LOUs) are authorized by GLEIF to issue LEIs to legal entities that engage in financial transactions.
Why was the open LEI system created?
Before the widespread adoption of the open LEI system, there were many inefficient, predominantly proprietary identifiers that, more often than not, provided false or outdated information. These shortcomings were a severe problem, particularly in financial markets, where regulators, banks, or other market participants could not access valid information about their counterparties.
Information accuracy and reliability are the foundation of trade, and any shortcoming affects everything from the ability to process transactions to the capacity to discern systematic risk automatically. The open LEI system solves this problem by providing permanent, IP-free, unique identifiers for all entities undertaking financial transactions.
Anyone can access the open LEI data, which includes:
1. Registered and trading names
2. Company type (e.g., Fund, Trust, limited liability company)
3. Registered address(es)
4. Company registration number
5. Parent company information
6. Child company information
The global LEI database can be accessed through LEI search.
The code was introduced as a critical measure to improve the quality and precision of financial data systems for better risk management following the Global Financial Crisis. It’s essentially a business ID that identifies your company and makes it possible to check if your counterpart is who they claim to be.
It provides access to the global participants of the financial market. The LEI search interface triumphs over former time-consuming background checks, allowing you to systematically browse the LEI database and be easily integrated into your Know Your Customer (KYC) process.
The LEI number or code
An LEI consists of 20 characters and will be issued to each company once:
- The first four characters are unique to the LOU, which has issued the LEI.
- The 5th and 6th characters are the same – 0 for every company.
- The following 12 characters are letters and numbers unique for each company.
- The final two characters are known as the checking characters.
The Legal Entity Identifier information needs to be updated every 12 months.
Who needs an LEI?
LEI will be issued to any legal identity, including but not limited to all
- Banks, lenders, and investment companies
- Commodities traders
- Contracts For Differences (CFDs)
- Entities listed on the stock exchange
- Financial intermediaries
- Investors in mutual funds and hedge funds
- Trade OTC derivatives
- Self-Managed Superannuation Fund traders and investors
- Pension schemes
- Any entity must comply with the SFTR (Securities Financing Transaction Regulation).
Check with a local Registration Agent if you are unsure about your need for an LEI.
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