The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a 20-digit, alpha-numeric code that enables clear and unique identification of legal entities participating in financial transactions. LEIs, like other identifiers, are needed by firms to fulfil their reporting obligations under financial regulations and directives. LEIs are also key for matching and aggregating market data, both for transparency and regulatory purposes.
The code is linked to a set of key reference information relating to the legal entity in question (eg name and address). Once a legal entity obtains a LEI code, the code is assigned to that legal entity for its entire life.
It is required by many regulators but is particularly in focus at the moment as most entities trading in Europe will require an LEI by 3 January 2018 in order to be able to meet MiFID II requirements.
Who can apply for an LEI
Any legal entity can apply for an LEI.
The term legal entity includes companies. trusts, partnerships and other forms of contractual collective investment schemes. It excludes natural persons, but includes individuals acting in a business capacity . It also includes governmental organisations and supranationals.