The ISO 17442 standard defines the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI)

It is a unique 20-character alphanumeric code assigned to all entities that are counterparties to financial transactions. 
The code itself is neutral, with no embedded intelligence or country codes that could create unnecessary complexity for users. 

The data record includes the following mandatory attributes: 

• LEI: the identifier itself. 

• Official name: the official name of the legal entity as recorded in the business registry, or with the fund manager for collective investment vehicles or otherwise in the constituting documents of the entity. 

• Address of legal formation: the registered address of the legal entity, including the country of legal formation as represented within ISO 3166-1, codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions. 

• Headquarters address: if different from the address of legal formation. 

• Dates: the date of the first LEI assignment, the date of the last update of the LEI set of information, the date of expiry and reason for expiry, if applicable. 

• Business registry: where applicable, the name of the business registry in which the entity was formed and the identifier of the entity in the business registry should be recorded.

Global LEI System 

The Global LEI System (GLEIS) is a three-tiered structure implemented on a not-for-profit model and consisting of: 

• The Regulatory Oversight Committee (ROC) has the ultimate responsibility for the governance of the Global LEI System (GLEIS) in the public interest. The ROC has a plenary of members and observers from more than 70 authorities, as well as a regionally balanced Executive Committee, which takes its work forward. 

• The Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF) has responsibility for ensuring the application of uniform global operational standards and protocols that deliver the global uniqueness of the LEI as well as seamless and open access to the global LEI files and to high-quality reference data for users. 

• The LEI Operating Units (LOUs) handles the registration, validation, and maintenance of the LEI records while coordinating the operations through the GLEIF. 

The LOUs are the implementers of the global system. They offer registration, validation, and maintenance of reference data as well as the publication of LEI files. LOUs are accredited by GLEIF. 

Accreditation is a rigorous evaluation process carried out by GLEIF; it evaluates the suitability of organizations seeking to operate as issuers of LEIs and verifies that LEI Issuers meet the requirements set out in the contractual framework governing the relationship between GLEIF and LEI issuing organizations. 

The LOUs charge a registration fee and an annual maintenance fee to the registrant on a cost-recovery basis. Registration and maintenance fees should not act as a barrier to the adoption of LEI. At the time of producing this report, the 

GLEIS consists of 30 LEI Operating Units of which 13 have already been accredited by the GLEIF and above 700,000 LEIs have been issued to entities domiciled in more than 200 countries and territories. The GMEI utility, the partnership between DTCC and SWIFT is one of these accredited LOUs. It issued the first LEIs (then called CICIs) in August 2012 and remains the most important LOU with nearly 50 % of all LEIs issued to date.