Legal Entity Identifier standard nears

Legal Entity Identifier standard nears

Plans to create a new legal entity identifier (LEI) system to help regulators and industry participants monitor systemic risk are gathering momentum, with Swift winning a vote to act as the registration authority for the ISO standard and a group of trade associations setting out their framework.

The US Office of Financial Research - established under the Dodd-Frank act - called for the LEI system last year and wants it ready for mandatory adoption by July.

The ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) has been working to develop a standard and has now reached a milestone in the process with Swift beating off competition from the Association of National Numbering Agencies (Anna) to act as the registration authority. Work is underway on finalising a draft standard by the end of next month.

Meanwhile, a group of financial services trade associations - including Sifma and the British Bankers Association - have set out their requirements for a new LEI system as part of a request for proposal process.

It's now calling for more talks with participants in the financial markets and regulators around the world as well as with players developing offerings and wants "immediate engagement" with potential providers "to help them understand these requirements".

Says the coalition: "A global standardised Legal Entity Identifier will help enable organisations to more effectively measure and manage counterparty exposure, while providing substantial operational efficiencies and customer-service improvements to the industry."

View an interview on LEIs with Richard Young, manager for regulatory affairs at Swift, here.

Read the industry association framework here:

» Download the document now 2 mb (PDF File)

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 05 May, 2011, 12:44Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

No No No ! This would be a disaster. SWIFT is not the right choice and will lead to a fragmented solution world wide.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 05 May, 2011, 14:56Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It is written: "A global standardised Legal Entity Identifier will help enable organisations to more effectively measure and manage counterparty exposure"

Response: I struggle to see how this is going to improve the measurement of counterparty risk. Most of us know that many banks aren't particularly great at managing counterparty static but they aren't that bad.  Financial institutions all over the world already have quite stringent requirements including Anti Money Laundering mandates to ensure they identify their facing counterparties accordingly.

Furnishing each counterparty with a registration plate doesn't enlighten financial institutions with anything more than what they already have now --- It’s another number?

Does a bank want an LEI or authorised legal company registration number? The LEI is not permissible in law, it would have to be written into law in every jurisdiction to make it contractually binding.  Then of course the LEI doesn’t carry any information about the credit worthiness of the entity.

Okay - let's cast aside the usefulness of the LEI process for counterparty risk.

As for systemic risk, there is a lot more to systemic risk than having everyone registered on a global numbering system however, if the world became dependent on that single LEI system just to transact; then you may just find that systemic risk increases rather than decreases, why? Well every registration will be in ONE system, a single dependency that is and an increase in impact to systemic flaws.

For example the system goes down for one counterparty, it goes down for the world.

I would say the costs and threats of this program outweigh the benefits, which for what it’s worth haven't been tangibly proven or logically shown even though they are keenly touted in the brief.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 05 May, 2011, 17:08Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I worry that SWIFT will achieve a great standard, that just doesn't get adopted.

Looking closer to home, how about making global IBAN adoption work first.  Great idea, great standard, great...for Europe.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 07 May, 2011, 15:19Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Why not use the phone number as unique identifier:

- globally fully standardised by ITU and IETF in E.164
- integral part of current Domain Name System
- fully independent :-)
- able to forward a request to any identifier needed at that moment (DUNS, IBAN, VAT, e-mail, and so on)
- additional services through over 50 URI's

 

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