If you have recently set up a company in Ireland, or are thinking of doing so you may benefit, or even be required to obtain a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code.
Created by the G20 and Financial Stability Board after the last global recession, the Legal Entity Identifier is a unique 20 digit, alpha numeric code that is assigned to a company in order to identify it on a global database. The need for this type of global company identifier became apparent after the Lehmann Bros debacle and markets crashed in 2008 – when nobody knew what entity belonged where and to whom. The LEI system was created to bring transparency and manage risk exposure in the capital markets.
The LEI is rapidly becoming the primary global business identifier and over 1.6 million entities now rely on the ISO 17442 standard for their regulatory and business needs. Driven by regulation, the LEI is required in many industries including all capital markets activity, investment banking and trading.
Over 20,500 companies registered in Ireland have already received LEI codes. The vast majority of these are located in heavily regulated sectors such as fund administration, aviation leasing and financial services. Also due to the fact that Ireland is the number one destination in the world for foreign direct investment by US tech companies. However, any company can benefit from having an LEI code, not just within financial services.
Having an LEI code is recommended for many reasons, but especially if you are engaging in cross border activity within Europe.
There is a maxim coined by the G20 “ No LEI, no trade”. Certain companies have reporting requirements which now require the inclusion of an LEI code. Without an LEI your banking institution may prevent you from trading.
As an EU country, Ireland follows global and EU regulatory requirements. The LEI has been mandated in the EU since 2018 when the Mifid II (Markets in Financial Instruments) regulatory framework was introduced.
Trust in your identity:
In todays world we conduct a lot of our business needs internationally. Knowing who you are dealing with is of utmost importance for a platitude of reasons including spotting fraudsters, anti money-laundering and preventing identity theft.
The LEI system provides evidence that you are who you say you are. Having an LEI code tells people that a company is a verified, registered company.
When you receive an LEI you are automatically listed on the global LEI index, which means anybody can search for you. This listing will show details such as company name, type (e.g Ltd) and registered address. Try searching for a company or brand such as ‘Google’ here: LEI Search Tool
Ease of access
Any legal entity, such as a Limited Company, investment firm, trust, fund, or government body can register to the global LEI index.
Obtaining an LEI code is a simple process and should not take more than 10 minutes. You can apply for an LEI at an accredited LEI Registration agent. The application form requests basic company information such as name, registration number and registered address.
The regulatory body over the LEI system, GLEIF (Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation) are responsible for monitoring the LEI records and ensuring the data is accurate and of high quality.
Once listed on the global LEI index an LEI number remains permanent, however it must be maintained and renewed annually. This is to ensure that all LEI data is relevant, up to date and reliable.
The Irish Companies Registration Office (CRO) maintains records of all Irish companies, and the LEI data is corroborated by the CRO, meaning it comes from a reliable source. Having an LEI code is similar to having a CRO company registration number, however it is recognised on a global scale.
If you are thinking of starting a company, or already have an Irish company you may be eligible to receive a Legal Entity Identifier which will protect your identity and globally certify that you are a registered company in Ireland.