What is a Legal Entity Identifier?



What is a LEI number / LEI code?

A Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) number / legal entity code is defined as a unique 20-character alphanumeric string (i.e. 529900T8BM49AURSDO55).

The meaning of an LEI is to define a Legal Entity (such as company, organization, firm, government body, trust, fund, etc) on a worldwide basis, and to identify transacting parties within financial systems. Once issued the Legal Entity number can be used to represent the Legal Entity in financial transactions or use-cases requiring verified organization identities.

LEIs are required by all parties participating in regulated transactions. They provide a publicly available verifiable source of ‘who is who’ (organization identity) and ‘who owns whom’ (organization group structures).

what is an lei number
The LEI number is based on the ISO 17442 standard and each LEI is assigned only to a single Legal Entity on a global basis.

The ecosystem, known as the Global LEI System or GLEIS, is maintained and operated by the Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF). The ability to issue Legal Entity Identifiers is only awarded to a limited number of organizations (like RapidLEI) after passing a stringent accreditation process who then become formally known as LOUs – Legal Operating Units.

Watch this short video to learn all about LEIs:


What type of Legal Entity can apply for a Legal Entity Identifier?

A Legal Entity number may be obtained for any of the following ‘Legal Entities’:

  • Registered Companies* and Registered Subsidiaries*
  • Non Profits
  • Sole Proprietors (Having a distinct identity within a business register)
  • International Branch offices (The Head Office must already have an LEI)**
  • Funds and Trusts

*As a general rule, a Business Registry will usually bestow a status of “Good Standing” to a business which maintains accurate information within the registry and completes any annual filing requirements.

A Legal Entity does NOT have to be in Good Standing to be issued with a Legal Entity Identifier, but MUST be ACTIVE. i.e. Legal Entities which have been struck off, merged, withdrawn or de-registered will be unable to receive or renew their identifier number.

** A branch office within an alternative jurisdiction/state, but still within the same country as the head office is not eligible as only one LEI per country can currently be issued.


Who may NOT apply for a Legal Entity Identifier?

An LEI may not be requested by any of the following:

  • Individuals
  • Operating divisions
  • Branch offices within the same country as a head office with an existing registered LEI

These entity types should all utilize the code of their parent or Head Office organization.


Who needs a Legal Entity Identifier?

1.8+ million organizations, trusts and funds now have LEI codes (see the full LEI statistics for more detailed data). It is firmly established as the global code to identify ‘who is who’, and ‘who owns whom’.

Why do I need an LEI?

Infographic: 5 reasons to get an LEI

LEIs are required for many financial regulations in financial markets such as MifID II, MiFIR, Dodd-Frank Act, EMIR and more. Organizations attempting to trade under these regulations without an LEI Number will be unable to transact, or risk being fined. There are over 100 regulations requiring Legal Entity Identifiers, with additional regulations mandating inclusion going live every month.

Because they contain valuable, accurate and transparent identity data attributes, the LEI enables high levels of trust in an organization’s legitimacy and identity. Increasing numbers of data providers and credit check organizations utilize Legal Entity Identifiers in Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and client onboarding processes.


How to search LEI Numbers and find LEIs by Company Name

RapidLEI has developed a free LEI Search application.

You can use the application to find who owns an LEI, its status, and the reference data associated with the LEI number holder. If you need to search for an Legal Entity Identifier by company name or other attributes, we recommend you use the GLEIF 2.0 Search application.


How do I know if an LEI code is lapsed or inactive?

You can use our free LEI Search application to find out the current status. We connect to the GLEIS database to verify active status, and depending on status our system will then help you renew or apply for a new code.

If your LEI has lapsed, our validation team can help you return your LEI status to ACTIVE quickly. Please follow our detailed instructions on how to reactivate a lapsed LEI.


LEI Definition – reference data

The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) publishes and maintains the Global LEI Index. The index is a global, entity identifier database.

LEIs issued by LOUs are added to the LEI Index daily. An LEI Lookup accesses the organization’s associated LEI Data Record – including a historical record of:

  • Company name(s)
  • Legal and HQ address and country
  • The local business registry used to register the organization
  • The corroboration level (e.g. how the LOU verified the organization details)
  • The LEI Issuer

Anyone can access and search the LEI index (entity identifier database) on the GLEIF website using the web-based LEI search tool. See the LEI Developers area for more information.


SSAS and LEI numbers

From 3rd January 2018 it will be a requirement for UK Small self-administered pension schemes (SSAS) to obtain LEI numbers.

SSAS fall under MIFID II LEI requirements. SSAS trustees or investment firms managing the pension scheme are responsible for obtaining an LEI. If you are either a trustee, asset manager, or an investment firm, RapidLEI can help you easily manage LEIs in a single account.

Find out more about LEIs for Asset Managers.


Who is the GLEIF?

The Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF) is a not for profit body established by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and overseen by the LEI Regulatory Oversight Committee (LEI ROC). The GLEIF is tasked with managing the Global LEI System (GLEIS).


The GLEIF is tasked with running the system on a global basis ensuring consistency and accuracy through data quality programs, reporting and their open data policy.

RapidLEI is a service provided by Ubisecure. Ubisecure is a Local Operating Unit (LOU) accredited by the GLEIF. RapidLEI works closely with Registration Agents (RA) and Validation Agents (VA) – organizations approved by the GLEIF to register LEIs in partnership with an accredited LOU.


The FSB (Financial Stability Board) and the G20 (Group of Twenty) have endorsed the LEI, Global LEI system and the Global LEI Foundation.


What is the future for LEIs?

Identifier usage is driven by various local and global regulations, as well as new payment standards like ISO 20022 in the Digital Certificate standard ISO 17422.

Being an accredited Legal Identity Identifier issuer is core to Ubisecure’s mission. We are focused on developing services to automate the interactions & assurances within the three identity domains: individuals, organizations & things.

The Ubisecure Identity Platform is used in nationwide solutions to enable the use of strong identity, secure identity data and improve customer experience.

LEIs are the best good solution to solving the issues associated with the less standardised, and less mature organizations domain to improve KYC, digital assurance and more.

The Ubisecure Identity Platform and Identity APIs open many new use cases for LEIs as the central identifier to how organizations can interact and trust each other, assign rights to represent, and be trusted by their customers.

Innovations are detailed in the Marketplace, including the new ‘Sign in with RapidLEI‘ service that asserts organization identity, affiliation and representation rights to counterparties.


What do I need in order to register?

You’ll need a functioning email account and a modern browser such as Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, Microsoft’s Edge or Apple’s Safari.

See https://outdatedbrowser.com/en for details on the latest browser versions to use.

We recommend using a desktop system to apply so you can ensure you can view all the helpful tips and guidance built in to the application process making it more efficient to apply.