Legal Entity Identifier

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A Legal Entity Identifier (or LEI) is a 20-character identifier that identifies distinct legal entities that engage in financial transactions. It is defined by ISO 17442.[1] Natural persons are not required to have an LEI; they’re eligible to have one issued, however, but only if they act in an independent business capacity.[2] The LEI is a global standard, designed to be non-proprietary data that is freely accessible to all.[3] As of October 2017, over 630,000 legal entities from more than 195 countries have now been issued with LEIs.[4]


The LEI system was developed by the G20,[5] in response to the inability of financial institutions to identify organisations uniquely, so that their financial transactions in different national jurisdictions can be fully tracked.[6] The first LEIs were issued in December 2012.[7]

Code structure[edit]

Structure of LEI codes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... 18 19 20
G.E. Financing GmbH
5493 00 84UKLVMY22DS 16
Jaguar Land Rover Ltd
2138 00 WSGIIZCXF1P5 72
British Broadcasting Corporation
5493 00 0IBP32UQZ0KL 24

The technical specification for LEI is ISO 17442.[6] An LEI consists of a 20-character alphanumeric string, with the first 4 characters identifying the Local Operating Unit (LOU) that issued the LEI. Characters 5 and 6 are reserved as '00'. Characters 7-18 are the unique alphanumeric string assigned to the organisation by the LOU. The final 2 characters are checksum digits.[8]

Obtaining a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI)[edit]

The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) is not directly issuing Legal Entity Identifiers, but instead it delegates this responsibility to Local Operating Units (LOUs). These LEI issuers supply different services. Local Operating Units can have different prices for the registration services they offer. GLEIF is responsible for monitoring LEI data quality.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Legal Entity Identifier Regulatory Oversight Committee". LEI ROC. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Statement on INDIVIDUALS ACTING IN A BUSINESS CAPACITY" (PDF). LEI ROC. Retrieved 15 December 2017. 
  3. ^ "What is an LEI?". GLEIF. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "Open LEIs homepage". Open LEIs. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "What is the LEI system?". Open LEIs. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) Is Good News for Financial Technology Developers". Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  7. ^ "Legal Entity Identifier Resource Center". Sifma. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "The Structure of the LEI Code". GLEIF. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  9. ^ GLEIF. "How to Get an LEI: Find LEI Issuing Organizations – About LEI – GLEIF". Retrieved 2017-10-18. 

External links[edit]