The LEI is a unique, 20-digit code associated with a single legal entity in accordance with the ISO 17442 standard. The LEI is a reference data tool to standardize how a counterparty is identified on financial transactions. Its goal is to help improve the measuring and monitoring of systemic risk and support more cost-effective compliance with regulatory reporting requirements. A single legal entity should only be assigned one LEI globally.
GS1 does not mandate which global entities require LEIs. These requirements are driven by international regulations applied to financial market participants.
An LEI can be requested for all parties in a financial transaction including but not limited to:
An LEI should NOT be requested for individuals or operating divisions. These entities should utilize the LEI of their parent organization.
For some companies, the LEI is not a voluntary form of identification, but mandated by local, national or international regulations. For more information on regulations requiring an LEI see, https://www.gleif.org/en/about-lei/regulatory-use-of-the-lei
An LEI is required for the compliance with European and international regulations, such as the CRD IV, EMIR, Solvency II, and the Dodd-Frank Act and has thus become an integral part of reporting in many areas of the financial sphere. Moreover, the LEI has already been mentioned in other regulations as, for instance, in the Technical Standards pertaining to the AIFMD (Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive) or in the context of MiFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II)/ MiFIR (Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation).
The structure of the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is defined in ISO 17442:2012. An LEI consists of 20 characters:
The first four identify the Local Operating Unit (LOU) that issued the LEI.
The fifth and sixth characters are reserved and shall always be set to 0.
The next 12 characters consist of both digits and letters. The combination is unique to the legal entity.
The last two digits are check digits.
Companies partaking in the derivatives trade and which are required to report this to a transaction register (link to the website of the Bundesanstalt zur Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht [Federal Institute for the Supervision of Financial Services] www.bafin.de) which are:
The LEI is furthermore interesting for export-oriented companies as well as for other companies of the real economy which conclude derivative contracts.
Private individuals and legally dependent business units do not require an LEI, however.
LEIs are issued by "Local Operating Units" (LOUs). GS1 is part of a select network of LOUs accredited by the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) to create, assign and maintain LEIs. As LOU, GS1 has been responsible for the allocation of the LEI since February 2017 and is accredited to issue LEIs worldwide.
You can apply for an LEI quickly and easily via our online portal. All you need is to create an account and submit an application. Once we receive your application, a validation check is performed. The validation checks performed against Legal LEI records are to confirm that the requested entity exists, that it is eligible to receive an LEI, and that the submitted data is accurate. Once your data is verified, your LEI is issued and sent to you via email.
The validity period of an LEI is 1 year from the issuance date or from the last renewal date going forward. If the LEI is not renewed within the 1 year time period, the registration status will default to Lapsed. This Lapsed status may affect your entity's ability to participate in regulatory reporting and financial transactions.
A set of reference data is attached to each LEI and made publicly available in the GLEIF database:
In addition to the LEI definition you can find further answers in our FAQ.