Legal Entity Identifier Overview

BACKGROUND

The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a 20-digit reference code that uniquely identifies legally distinct entities engaging in financial transactions globally, and across markets and jurisdictions. The LEI system was developed by the G-20 in accordance with ISO standards and the issuers of LEIs, referred to as Local Operating Units (LOU), supply registration and renewal services. Providing a unique identifier for each legal entity (along with key reference information associated with the entity) participating in financial transactions is intended to promote transparency.

DTC, in collaboration with SWIFT, operate as the local (U.S.) source provider of LEIs and maintains a website for the assignment of new and search of existing LEIs.  See: http://www.gmeiutility.org/

 

SITUATIONS REQUIRING A LEI

In certain instances, brokers are required by regulation to report information regarding a client and include in that information a client identifier. For entities such as trusts and organizations, that identifier is referred to an a LEI. Examples of these reporting instances include the following:

CFTC Ownership and Control Reporting
MiFIR Transaction Reporting
China Stock Connect
EMIR reporting to trade repository

 

OBTAINING THE LEI

A LEI can be obtained by contacting an authorized LEI issuer, also referred to as a Local Operating Unit (LOU). The DTC, in collaboration with SWIFT, operates as a U.S. LOU and maintains a website for purposes of LEI registration and renewal. Note that LEI applicants can use the services of any accredited LOU and are not limited to using an LEI issuer in their own country.

In addition, as a service to its clients, IBKR will send an invite via Account Management to those who are required to obtain a LEI for trading or other regulatory reporting functions.  Through this invite, the client can authorize IBKR to request an LEI through DTC on an accelerated basis (3 business days) and debit the client's account for the application fee and the annual renewal fee thereafter.