What is an LEI number?

What is an LEI number?

This page contains the definition of an LEI, why and how they were introduced to the market and their importance.

What is an LEI number?

A Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) (LEI Number / LEI code) is defined as a unique 20-character alphanumeric string (i.e. 984500M5A59S9DF2CB98).

The meaning of an LEI is to define a relevant Legal Entity (such as a company, organization, firm, government body, trust, fund, etc) on a worldwide basis, and to identify transacting parties within actual financial systems. Once issued, the Legal Entity number can be used to represent the Legal Entity in financial transactions or any other use-cases requiring verified organization identities.

LEIs are required by all parties participating in regulated transactions. They provide a publicly available verifiable source of “who is who” (organization identity) and “who owns whom” (organization group structures).

The meaning of the digits in the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code
The meaning of the digits in the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code. Source: LEIpapa.

Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) require mandatory use of LEIs in transaction reporting under the โ€œNo LEI No Tradeโ€ initiative.

From January 3rd, 2018 all legal entities (regardless of where the legal entity is incorporated, or geographically located), investment firms, and structures involved in buying, selling, or issuing financial instruments on EU regulated markets are responsible and required to obtain and maintain a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI).

The LEI number is based on the ISO 17442 standard and each LEI number is assigned only to a single Legal Entity on a global basis. The ecosystem, known as the Global LEI System or GLEIS, is maintained and operated by the Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF) based in Switzerland. The ability to issue Legal Entity Identifiers is only awarded to a limited number of organizations after passing a stringent accreditation process.

Last updated on