The US OFR has asked the financial industry to come up with a standard Legal Entity Identifier that doesn’t include any “information”. That means that the identifier won’t give away any information about the entity itself – its name, its type or the country
that it is based in. This is an opportunity for the industry – globally – to provide its input and feedback.
A previous proposal was to re-use the ISO 9362 standard for a Bank Identifier Code (BIC) as a Business Identifier Code. That allowed 4 characters to define the bank, 2 for the country it’s in, 2 for the “location” and 3 for the branch. So a code like
“BNPAFRPPNIC” would tell you that this is BNP Paribas in France, with an internal location code, and that it’s located in Nice (probably). This standard started life as a network address identifier and then the business requirement for an industry-standard
business entity identifier got shoehorned into the same format. That way banks wouldn’t have to change their applications and their messaging service provider wouldn’t have to change its applications either.
The new proposal for an ISO-standard LEI is for a longer 20-character field (2 characters of which would be for check digits), but none of the content of that field should necessarily include any information about the legal entity itself. It’s hard to see
how this approach would work unless there was only one single issuer of all legal entity identifiers for the whole world. That would be like having just one company to issue all of the telephone numbers in the world – and the world doesn’t work that way,
Meanwhile, the UK Cabinet Office last week announced that it wants to see a market with competing providers of identity assurance services. Which approach do you think is most realistic and appropriate?