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 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 May 2017, the process of enhancing the LEI data pool, by including ‘Level 2’ data to answer the question of ‘who owns whom’, began.

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

  • Level 1 – LEI-CDF format: Defines how Level 1 data, i.e. the information on ‘who is who’, is reported.
  • Level 2 – 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 – Parent Reference Data format: Defines how reference data for parent entities without an LEI is stored and transferred between LEI issuers and GLEIF.
  • Level 2 – 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: The LEI registrant has no parent entity; the child legal entity opts out of reporting for exceptional reasons; the direct and ultimate parents of the LEI registrant do not have an LEI.

Representation of LEI data based on the applicable reporting format with the GLEIF Concatenated Files

The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) has published the Global LEI Index. It contains historical and current LEI records including related reference data in one authoritative, central repository. Interested parties can access and search the complete LEI data pool using the web-based LEI search tool developed by GLEIF.

The GLEIF Concatenated Files, which are available for download, include specific information on an LEI record and related reference data based on the relevant reporting format. Since May 2017, GLEIF has published four separate and distinct Concatenated Files daily:

  • Level 1 LEI-CDF Version 1.0 Concatenated File: GLEIF has published the Level 1 LEI-CDF Version 1.0 Concatenated File since 8 June 2015. It contains the Level 1 data, i.e. LEI records and related reference data that provide information on who is who, for the complete LEI population based on version 1.0 of the LEI-CDF format. This is the authoritative source on Level 1 data.
  • Level 1 LEI-CDF Version 2.1 Concatenated File: GLEIF published the first Level 1 LEI-CDF Version 2.1 Concatenated File on 8 May 2017. It contains Level 1 data based on version 2.1 of the LEI-CDF format as made available by LEI issuers that have achieved LEI-CDF version 2.1 capability. This means: The Level 1 LEI-CDF version 2.1 Concatenated File does not currently cover the complete LEI population. It is published however, to give LEI data users a preview of how Level 1 data is reported based on version 2.1 of the LEI-CDF format. (For detailed information, refer to the GLEIF website page ‘Transition from LEI-CDF 1.0 to LEI-CDF 2.1’.)
  • Level 2 RR-CDF Concatenated File: GLEIF published the first Level 2 RR-CDF Concatenated File on 8 May 2017. It contains the Level 2 data that allows the identification of the direct and ultimate parents of a legal entity whose direct and ultimate parents have an LEI. It is important to note that the information included in the Level 2 RR-CDF Concatenated file does not yet cover the complete LEI population for the following reason: The collection and validation of Level 2 data by the LEI issuing organizations for LEIs that existed prior to May 2017 takes place with the annual renewal of the LEI. Renewal means that the reference data connected to an LEI is re-validated annually by the managing LEI issuer against a third party source. It is expected that Level 2 data for the complete LEI population will be available in the course of the first half of 2018, i.e. towards the end of the one-year renewal cycle after the date when collection of Level 2 data started.
  • Level 2 Reporting Exceptions Concatenated File: GLEIF published the first Level 2 Reporting Exceptions Concatenated File on 8 May 2017. As mentioned above, exceptions include: The LEI registrant has no parent entity; the child legal entity opts out of reporting for exceptional reasons; the direct and ultimate parents of the LEI registrant do not have an LEI. As is the case with the Level 2 RR-CDF Concatenated File (see previous bullet), the content of the Level 2 Reporting Exceptions Concatenated File will be gradually enhanced and should be completed in the course of the first half of 2018 as LEI issuing organizations collect Level 2 information for LEIs that were issued prior to May 2017 during the one-year renewal cycle.

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 LEI Regulatory Oversight Committee.

Each reporting format is defined in a detailed technical specification.

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:

GLEIF will periodically review the CDF formats to identify the need for updates based on new or adapted policies introduced by the LEI 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 leidata@gleif.org.


Relevant Files for Download

Relevant Files for Download

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.