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] The LEI is a global standard, designed to be non-proprietary data that is freely accessible to all.[2] Over 435,000 legal entities from more than 195 countries have now been issued with LEIs.[3]


The LEI system was developed by the G20,[4] 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.[5] The first LEIs were issued in December 2012.[6]

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.[5] 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.[7]


  1. ^ "The Legal Entity Identifier Regulatory Oversight Committee". LEI ROC. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "What is an LEI?". GLEIF. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Open LEIs homepage". Open LEIs. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "What is the LEI system?". Open LEIs. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) Is Good News for Financial Technology Developers". Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "Legal Entity Identifier Resource Center". Sifma. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  7. ^ "The Structure of the LEI Code". GLEIF. Retrieved 26 May 2016.