What is the open LEI system?
The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) a not-for-profit organisation 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 overseen by the LEI Regulatory Oversight Committee (LEI ROC), an organisation made up of public authority representatives from around the world. The issuers of LEI, otherwise known as Local Operating Units (LOUs) are authorised by GLEIF to issue LEIs to legal entities who 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system, there were many inefficient, predominantly proprietary identifiers that, more often than not, provided false or outdated information.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 the regulators, banks or other market participants were unable to 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 who undertake financial transactions.
Anyone can access the open LEI data, that 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 open and available LEI database can be accessed by LEI Search, a user-friendly interface to the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) system. It is publicly available with updates provided on a daily basis.
The code was introduced as a critical measure to better the quality and precision of financial data systems for better risk management post the Global Financial Crisis. So it’s essentially a business passport, which identifies your company and makes it possible to check if your counterpart is who they’re claiming to be. It’ll provide access to the global directory of participants that exist within the financial market. The LEI Search interface triumphs former time-consuming background checks, allowing to systematically browse the GLEIF database and can be easily integrated into your know your customer (KYC) process.
The LEI number/code
An LEI consists of 20 characters and will be issued to each company once:
- The first 4 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 consist of letters and numbers and are unique for each company.
- The final 2 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
- CFDs (Contracts For Differences)
- 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 needing to comply with the SFTR (Securities Financing Transaction Regulation)Check with a local registration agent if unsure about your need for an LEI.
LEI Register offers the fastest LEI obtaining process, together with an excellent customer service, operating in more than 35 countries. Established in 2018 LEI Register has grown into one of the biggest LEI registration agents in the world. In partnership with RapidLei (an LOU), they’ve optimised the LEI requiring process by making it easier, faster and more affordable.