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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 transactions. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17442 standard defines a set of attributes or legal entity reference data that are the most essential elements of identification.

The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) has published the Global LEI Index. It provides information, updated daily, on all LEIs issued to date.

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

The information available with the LEI reference data to date, 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 a next step, the LEI data pool will be enhanced to include the ‘Level 2’ data that will answer the question of ‘who owns whom’.

Level 1 and Level 2 data each have different formats, respectively:

  • The LEI-CDF format defines how Level 1 data, i.e. the information on ‘who is who’, is reported.
  • The 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.
  • The Parent Reference Data format defines how reference data for parent entities without an LEI is stored and transferred between LEI issuers and GLEIF.
Common Data File Formats

Each format is defined in a detailed specification document, which includes:

An XML schema definition (XSD) which enforces minimum data quality criteria. 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.

For further information, refer to these dedicated GLEIF website pages:

Frequently asked questions and answers on detailed technical aspects related to the CDF formats are set out in the PDF document available for download below.

Download as PDF: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on the Common Data File Formats

Please address questions on the LEI- and RR-CDF formats to

How an LEI can help your business get fit for the future

  • Improved risk management.
  • Increased operational efficiency.
  • More accurate calculation of exposures.
  • Simplified regulatory reporting.
  • Ensured counterparties for any business process.
  • Unique counterparty identification globally.

Follow five easy steps to apply for an LEI number

  1. Review your LEI requirements.
  2. Explore your LEI issuer's website of choice.
  3. Provide your 'business card' information.
  4. Verify and submit your LEI request.
  5. Make payment.