ISO Standard provides global solution for legal entity identification for financial services


ISO 17442:2012 Financial services – Legal entity identifier (LEI) is a new Standard for the financial services industry. It provides a global solution for the accurate and unambiguous identification of entities engaged in financial transactions. ISO 17442 is aimed at meeting the data collection and analysis needs of both national and global regulators in their responses to problems arising from the world financial crisis.

James Whittle, Convenor of ISO/TC 68 working group WG 6, responsible for the LEI Standard, explains the benefits of ISO 17442. 'LEIs can be assigned to a legal person or structure that is organised under corporate laws of any jurisdiction. These entities include, but are not limited to, all financial intermediaries, banks and finance companies, all entities listed on an exchange, all entities that trade stock or debt, partnerships and pension funds, all entities under the purview of a financial regulator and their holding companies and supranationals.'

The development of ISO 17442 has been positively received by the financial services sector and by regulators. These include the Financial Stability Board, which was established to coordinate at the international level the work of national financial authorities and international standard setting bodies, and to develop and promote the implementation of effective regulatory, supervisory and other financial sector policies in the interest of financial stability.

ISO 17442 describes a 20-character alphanumeric code, as well as additional elements for reference data attributes. Key attributes of the Standard include the following:

  • enables unique identification of global entities requiring an LEI
  • defines robust open governance of the issuance and maintenance of the LEI scheme
  • defines an LEI that contains no embedded intelligence
  • can be applied worldwide to support the financial services industry
  • leverages the expertise of ISO/TC 68 in defining and maintaining identifier standards
  • is persistent
  • defines a scheme that is scalable and free from assignment limitations.

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