Financial Company Reference Database
The Dodd-Frank Act directed the OFR to prepare and publish a financial company reference database easily accessible to the public.
During the financial crisis of 2007-09, companies, regulators, and policymakers struggled to trace quickly the exposures and connections between Lehman Brothers and other financial firms, highlighting the need for a globally recognized identifier for legal entities. “Legal entities” in this context are firms, companies, partnerships, trusts, governments and other types of entities with a “legal personality” (sometimes including sole proprietorships and occasionally even individuals “acting in a business capacity”), but not “natural persons” (i.e., individual human beings).
To execute the Dodd-Frank mandate, the OFR led the development and launch of the global legal entity identifier (LEI) system. The goal was to help in mapping connections in the financial system, and to make cleaning, aggregating, and reporting data easier and less costly for companies and regulators.
In just a few years, a public-private partnership has built the global LEI system. More than 80 public authorities from more than 50 jurisdictions formed the Regulatory Oversight Committee in November 2012 to oversee the global LEI system in the public interest. The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF, at www.gleif.org), a private, non-profit Swiss foundation, was created in 2014 to establish standards for ensuring the system’s operational integrity. Operating under the GLEIF’s standards and oversight is a worldwide network of for-profit local operating units (LOUs) that are approved by the GLEIF to assign LEIs to entities.
The system reached a milestone when the GLEIF launched the Global LEI Index in October 2015, a repository of data, updated daily, on the hundreds of thousands of companies that have been issued LEIs. As part of its ongoing improvements to the global LEI system, the GLEIF collects information about ownership structures within these companies to assist market participants and government authorities to better manage financial risks.
The public may easily access and search the complete LEI data pool free of charge, plus view and export search results in a variety of formats.