LEGAL ENTITY IDENTIFIER (LEI)
What is a LEI?
A Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a unique 20-digit code alpha-numeric code based on the ISO 17442 standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It provides key reference data that allows for the identification of legal entities participating in financial transactions – including derivatives (swaps) transactions.
The oversight and management of LEI’s is now being undertaken by the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) who, over the past number of years, have effectively been creating an LEI global directory. This directory is publicly available.
Do you need a LEI?
Yes, you do! It is imperative that all counterparties to derivatives transactions in the European Union have a LEI for reporting to trade repositories under European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). Likewise, the LEI can be used for trading and trade reporting purposes in the United States.
Additionally, from 3 January 2018, all clients wanting to access EU trading venues such as the 360T Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) will be required to have an LEI in order for firms subject to the EU Market in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) to be able to comply with their transaction reporting obligations.
Whilst the LEI will clearly assist the regulatory authorities in monitoring and analysing threats to the stability of the financial markets, it can also be utilised by counterparties internally for risk management purposes.
How to get a LEI?
To obtain an LEI you must register with an authorised LEI issuer. They will carry out a validation check on the information provided and, assuming there is a successful validation, issue an LEI. There is a nominal charge for obtaining and LEI. Moreover, it is important to note that you must update your LEI annually.
A list of those entities authorised to issue LEI’s can be found on the website of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) https://www.gleif.org/en