ISO 17442: The LEI Code Structure
The Global Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) System is designed to uniquely and unambiguously identify participants in financial transactions.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17442 standard defines a set of attributes or legal entity reference data that are the most essential elements of identification. The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code itself is neutral, with no embedded intelligence or country codes that could create unnecessary complexity for users.
Four key principles underlie the LEI:
- It is a global standard.
- A single, unique identifier is assigned to each legal entity.
- It is supported by high data quality.
- It is a public good, available free of charge to all users.
Once a legal entity has obtained an LEI, it will be published together with the related LEI reference data by the organization that has issued the LEI. This means the full data on the entire LEI population is publicly available for unrestricted use by any interested party at all times.
The ISO 17442 standard specifies the minimum reference data, which must be supplied for each LEI:
- The official name of the legal entity as recorded in the official registers.
- The registered address of that legal entity.
- The country of formation.
- The codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions.
- The date of the first LEI assignment; the date of last update of the LEI information; and the date of expiry, if applicable.
- Additional information may be registered as agreed between the legal entity and its LEI issuing organization.
For the management of the identifiers a structured numbering system is used. Based on the ISO 17442 requirements, it has been further developed by the LEI Regulatory Oversight Committee (LEI ROC), implementing the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board, as follows:
- Characters 1-4: Prefix used to ensure the uniqueness among codes from LEI issuers (Local Operating Units or LOUs).
- Characters 5-18: Entity-specific part of the code generated and assigned by LOUs according to transparent, sound and robust allocation policies. As required by ISO 17442, it contains no embedded intelligence.
- Characters 19-20: Two check digits as described in the ISO 17442 standard.