Financial Company Reference Database Now Available for Free to the Public

A financial company reference database envisioned by the Dodd-Frank Act has become a reality. The international database is free, frequently updated with new information, and available.

Members of the public can use the database to look up a financial company’s “business card” information, such as legal name, address, country, and business registry information. Also included is each corporate subsidiary’s unique, 20-digit legal entity identifier (LEI), a code that helps pinpoint the entity’s counterparties in financial market transactions and eliminates confusion when corporate subsidiaries have similar names.

The database was recently launched by the Global LEI Foundation, a not-for-profit group responsible for operating the international LEI system in the public interest. The Office of Financial Research, other regulators around the world, and the private sector developed the LEI system and its accompanying data standards after the 2007-09 financial crisis to help regulators worldwide identify buyers and sellers in transactions across financial markets, products, and regions.

The financial company reference database at is updated daily with data submitted by approximately two dozen entities that are authorized to issue LEIs to companies.

Thanks to early LEI adopters such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a growing number of financial regulators in the United States, European Union, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and elsewhere are requiring the companies they oversee to use the LEI in regulatory reporting. Earlier this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission finalized a plan requiring the LEI in equities swap transactions and proposed other rules that would require the use of an LEI for other reporting requirements. Almost 400,000 LEIs have now been issued to financial companies and subsidiaries in 191 countries.

The Global LEI Foundation just marked its first year in operation. It has issued an annual report (see and recently issued a call for new members of its board of directors as existing directors are completing their terms.

After achieving these milestones, the Global LEI System’s Regulatory Oversight Committee (ROC) is focusing on expanding the capabilities of the system to capture and disclose parent-child information about companies. The ROC, which I chair, will be revealing its plans and seeking further input on this so-called “level 2” initiative in coming months.

Matthew Reed is Chief Counsel at the Office of Financial Research and Chairman of the global LEI system’s Regulatory Oversight Committee.