About LEI

Common Data File Formats



The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) connects to key reference information that enables clear and unique identification of legal entities participating in financial and other transactions. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17442 standard defines a set of attributes, or legal entity reference data, that comprises the most essential elements of identification.

Daily reporting of LEI and legal entity reference data is conducted by the LEI issuing organizations using the Common Data File (CDF) formats. The CDF formats provide the specificity needed for the operational implementation of the ISO standard. External standards have been included in the CDF formats, where appropriate, to promote data quality.

The business card information available with the LEI reference data, e.g. the official name of a legal entity and its registered address, is referred to as ‘Level 1’ data. It provides the answer to the question of ‘who is who’. In addition, the LEI data pool includes ‘Level 2’ data which answers the question of ‘who owns whom’.

Each reporting format is defined in a detailed technical specification

The reporting of Level 1 and Level 2 data, respectively, is based on specific formats.

Each reporting format is defined in a detailed specification document and XML schema definition (XSD) which enforces minimum data quality. A file which does not pass XSD validation cannot be included in the GLEIF Concatenated Files and the Global LEI Index. The schema defines:

  • The structure of each data element.
  • The associated code lists.
  • The associated data element attributes.

The technical specification documents also contain concise definitions of the data elements. These specifications are available for download on the following dedicated GLEIF website pages:

  • Level 1 Data – LEI-CDF format: Defines how Level 1 data, i.e. the information on ‘who is who’, is reported.
  • Level 2 Data – Relationship Record-CDF (RR-CDF) format: Defines how Level 2 data, i.e. information on ‘who owns whom’, is reported for LEI registrants whose direct and ultimate parents have an LEI.
  • Level 2 Data – Reporting Exceptions format: If the child legal entity reports an exception, a record in this format is generated for the parent entity. Each record refers to a child legal entity, indicates whether the exception applies to the direct or ultimate parent and provides the reporting exception. Reporting exceptions include: When the LEI registrant has no parent entity; when the child legal entity opts out of reporting for exceptional reasons; when the direct and ultimate parents of the LEI registrant do not have an LEI.
  • Level 2 Data – Parent Reference Data format: Defines how reference data for parent entities without an LEI is stored and transferred between LEI issuers and GLEIF.

Please note that Level 2 data collected based on the Parent Reference Data format is not currently published for the reasons detailed in the related policy issued by the Regulatory Oversight Committee.

GLEIF will periodically review the CDF formats to identify the need for updates based on new or adapted policies introduced by the Regulatory Oversight Committee and to align with user requirements.

Frequently asked questions and answers on specific technical aspects related to the CDF formats are set out in the PDF document available for download at the foot of this page.

Please address questions on the LEI-CDF, the RR-CDF, the Parent Reference Data format and the Reporting Exceptions format to info@gleif.org.


Relevant Files for Download