10 Years of GLEIF

Celebrating 10 Years of GLEIF: Trust as the Foundation of Global Economy

In the wake of the financial crisis, the world grappled with diminishing trust in financial systems and the pervasive uncertainty that followed. It was within this context that the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) was born. Founded on the mission to reinstate trust and transparency in global financial transactions, GLEIF has spent a decade innovating and empowering businesses worldwide.

Our interactive timeline and downloadable infographic visually explore GLEIF's impact over the decade, showcasing the evolution from concept to global standard.

The journey to one global identity behind every business

A decade of excellence. A history of the Global LEI System

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Tasked with developing a universal identifier for legal entities involved in financial transactions, GLEIF introduced the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI). This 20-character alpha-numeric code serves as an international ID for businesses. This initiative laid the groundwork for a new era of transparency and reliability in the marketplace.

The LEI system, maintained by GLEIF, ensures accurate and reliable identification of parties in transactions, fostering an environment where businesses can confidently operate. With the Global LEI Index, GLEIF offers an unparalleled resource for verifying business identities, free of charge, enhancing the ability of consumers, partners, and regulatory bodies worldwide to cross-reference organizational claims with verified data. Here, the power of the Global LEI Index to help the world fight financial crime has grown enormously.

With more than 2.5 million LEI records in circulation, the world's regulators and market supervisors are now using LEI data to identify and expose criminal networks operating across borders and legal jurisdictions. Many are also mandating the LEI's use outside of capital markets to drive greater corporate transparency in related use cases, like cross-border payments.

Celebrating a decade of pioneering trust and transparency in the global economy, we spotlight those who have experienced the benefits firsthand. In this section, our clients and partners share their testimonials, reflecting on how the GLEIF has empowered their operations and contributed to their success. These stories from around the world highlight the practical applications of LEIs and underscore the profound impact of trust and reliability in fostering global business relationships. Read on to discover the real-world advantages of partnering with GLEIF, as told by those who know it best.

Voices from Around the World

I had the privilege of leading GLEIF from its infancy to the thriving and successful organization it has become today. Since its inception, the Global LEI System has revolutionized how legal entities are identified globally - providing a robust framework for uniquely identifying legal entities participating in financial transactions. Ten years on, GLEIF has left an indelible mark on the financial ecosystem in pursuit of its vision: One global identity behind every business. We have contributed to a safer, more transparent economy that has transformed the marketplace for the better.

Stephan Wolf, CEO of GLEIF

I want to acknowledge the remarkable foundational work accomplished by outgoing CEO Stephan Wolf and the entire GLEIF team. Stepping into the role of GLEIF CEO, I am filled with a deep understanding of the LEI system. During my time at SWIFT, I worked to incorporate the LEI into ISO data models and actively promoted its use in Asia-Pacific. My passion for the LEI has also driven my efforts to support its adoption in the digital asset and blockchain industry. I am excited to build on GLEIF’s success and amazing team, leveraging digital technologies like the vLEI to enhance transparency, efficiency, and trust in global markets.

Alexandre Kech, GLEIF CEO Elect

As an LEI Issuer since 2017, we have witnessed exponential growth in the applications of the LEI, not only for regulatory compliance but also in trade, reporting, and sanctions screening. Many of our clients, for example, also leverage the LEI in their client onboarding processes to streamline KYC procedures. We are pleased to observe greater adoption of the LEI across a wide range of industries, with a diverse array of use cases that we anticipate will continue to expand in the future.

Steven Meizanis, Global Product Head of Symbology and LEI Services at Bloomberg

The Global LEI System has become essential for the investment and asset management industry, addressing the critical need for a global, standardized approach to entity identification. The openly available LEI dataset enables investors to comprehend the nature of their investments and potential risks fully. LEIs have become compulsory for transactions subject to regulatory reporting; in short: no LEI, no trade. LEIs enhance regulatory compliance, streamline transaction processing, and improve risk management. The future outlook for the LEI system is promising, paving the way for a more transparent, efficient, and interconnected global investment landscape.

Rudolf Siebel, Managing Director, BVI German Investment Funds Association

Over the past ten years, GLEIF has established a stable and global ecosystem that enables the implementation of a unique and universal entity identifier, the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), harnessed for public good globally. The success is driven enthusiastically by an ecosystem of invested stakeholders. Our partners and stakeholders work to evolve and expand the Global LEI System and the benefits of the LEI beyond its mandated use as a tool to enhance transparency in financial markets and encourage its voluntary adoption across all markets globally. We have strengthened the foundations and keep the focus on establishing the LEI and the vLEI as enablers of digital trust across multiple value chains where digital trust is a central principle.

T. Dessa Glasser, Chair of GLEIF

Over the past decade, GLEIF's steadfast commitment to advancing the implementation and exploring new applications of the LEI has improved the security and resilience of the global financial ecosystem. Our strategic partnership with GLEIF will cultivate a robust, convenient, and highly trustworthy international cross-border payments environment for the growth and prosperity of the global cross-border e-commerce community.

Cindy Xiao, SVP at Oceanpayment

In today’s globalized business landscape, accurate and transparent identification of legal entities has become increasingly crucial. InfoCamere is among the earliest organizations to join the GLEIF endeavor in fostering the use of the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) as a standardized solution to this challenge. With more than 170,000 LEI managed, we are proud to contribute since the beginning to the success of this first decade, providing a better and safer worldwide environment for business.

Paolo Ghezzi, CEO at InfoCamere

In 2013, some central banks approached me to join the GLEIF Board and serve as the first Chair from 2014 (until 2020). I was pleased to support the G20-FSB-initiated LEI program because of my experience with identity management challenges in the securities, forex, and payments industries. I am convinced that the Global LEI System will continue to be of benefit for (inter)national B2G reporting requirements and for all market participants involved in B2B transactions within international capital markets (issuers and investors) and global (physical and financial) supply chains.

Gerard Hartsink, first Chair of GLEIF’s Board of Directors (2014-2020)

GLEIF has significantly improved international transparency in the past decade, facilitating cross-border finance and global trade. As a China-based Validation Agent, CFCA supports the continuous adoption of the LEI in the country and strongly advocates its inclusion in digital certificates. In the future, we will continue cooperating closely with GLEIF  to explore vLEI's potential in cross-border digital identity.

Yi Zhang, Assistant General Manager at CFCA Technical Department

As an organization with a strong focus on promoting financial transparency, we have been actively engaged in the Global LEI System since the inception of GLEIF. Over the past decade, GLEIF has evolved into a professional organization committed to the highest standards and has significantly contributed to ensuring the quantity and quality of the LEIs issued. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with GLEIF and the LOU community to further expand the use of the LEI beyond the financial sector.

Ondřej Dusílek, CEO at Central Securities Depository Prague

I was honored to work closely with public and private sector colleagues worldwide to develop a governance structure for the Global LEI System that we hoped would be flexible and expansive, and then given the greater honor of serving as the first Chair of the Regulatory Oversight Committee governing the system. In those early days, we made many decisions about where to place the GLEIF, how to organize it, and what jobs to assign. Probably the most important of those early decisions involved recruiting talented people to join a common vision and build trusting relationships and, in turn, a trusted system. I am gratified to have been part of what I think is a great success. Congratulations!

Matt Reed, Inaugural Chairman of the Regulatory Oversight Committee of the Global LEI System (2013 – 2016), Corporate Expert at Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (DFIC)

Ten years on, GLEIF’s mission of entity interoperability is all the more urgent. Business intelligence platforms like the one I co-founded at HData continue to invest millions in reinventing entity maps to serve the urgent needs of governments for oversight and entrepreneurs for commerce. We would eagerly pass these millions to our customers through lower prices and better intelligence if the LEI were universally adopted and uniformly mandated by regulators and registries, as a matter of course and law.

Hudson Hollister, Co-Founder and CEO at HData

Congratulations to GLEIF on 10 years! GLEIF's LEI promotes transparency and reduces risk in financial markets. NSDL shares GLEIF's vision for a robust financial market. We thank GLEIF and look forward to continued partnership.

Padmaja Chunduru, CEO and Managing Director at NSDL

I remember the inaugural meeting of the Foundation Board held in Switzerland in June 2014. That was a critical step in building the Global LEI System, designed to uniquely identify parties to financial transactions in the public interest and without any licensing restrictions. We created a robust Global LEI System by jointly achieving the foundation's objectives – making the LEI a broad public good for the benefit of any user. GLEIF has accomplished remarkable milestones and innovations over a decade, and I am confident the team will drive further success.

Tim Smucker, Inaugural member of GLEIF’s Board of Directors (2014-2016)

LEI was a key response to the 2007 financial crisis when it became very clear that identification of parties to financial transactions could no longer rely on simple name matching. Fast forward 10 years, and GLEIF, as the custodian and evangelist for LEI, continues to break down walls, converting skeptics to the importance of adopting a (critical) dumb number. Few could have envisaged the scale of political reticence to adopt LEI, but GLEIF continues to partner and innovate to drive meaningful progress, from which we all benefit.

Mark Davies, Partner at element22

Working with GLEIF during the early part of these past ten years has been a privilege. GLIEF successfully enables us to make smarter and reliable decisions about who to do business with. The LEI is an essential linchpin that connects the dots across the universe of legal entity identification.

Hiroshi Kawagoe, CEO at Cotra Ltd. and previous member of the GLEIF Board of Directors

It is hard to believe we are already celebrating 10 years of the GLEIF! It is exciting to see the continued growth of the LEI, as well as the innovations and opportunities that support our foundational belief—from the beginning of the journey in 2014—that the LEI would be a powerful tool to help companies really know who they are doing business with and to do that more efficiently.

I wish the entire GLEIF team continued success and look forward to hearing about all the new ways the LEI will be used in practice in the future. Congratulations!

Robin Doyle, Inaugural member of GLEIF’s Board of Directors (2014-2020)

The world of organizational identity changed forever with the launch of the LEI, and changed again with its verifiable digital version, the vLEI. Far more than a digital identifier, the verifiable LEI represents a global root of trust that is unparalleled in its utility, security, and scope, and is only possible because of the existence of GLEIF. Kudos to the entire GLEIF team for a decade of excellent vision and execution, for taking profound ideas and turning them into realities.

Timothy Ruff, Managing Partner at Digital Trust Ventures

INEGI congratulates GLEIF for its first decade of innovation achieved through tools such as the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI). LEI has significantly enhanced the National Statistical Directory of Economic Units (DENUE) by incorporating multinational companies. DENUE serves as a critical statistical and geographic resource for analyzing and pinpointing businesses across Mexico. LEI's impact goes beyond just locating companies; it empowers market research by aiding in customer and supplier identification, distribution network mapping, and sample frame development for business surveys.

Susana Pérez Cadena, Director General of Economic Statistics at El Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI)

GLEIF's 10th anniversary is a crucial milestone in advancing financial transparency through the LEI. Serving as a GLEIF Board of Directors member has been an enriching and fulfilling experience. GLEIF is distinguished by its dedication to excellence and transparency. Together, we have fortified GLEIF's position as a leader in legal entity identification. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to further contributing to GLEIF's continued success.

Alfredo Alejandro Reyes Krafft, previous member of GLEIF’s Board of Directors (2016-2022)

The Association of Registrars of Latin America and the Caribbean (ASORLAC) is firmly committed to disseminating information on the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) among its members and partners in order to promote awareness and understanding of its multiple benefits, including its central role in achieving greater levels of transparency and efficiency across the financial and commercial markets.

Constanza Puentes Trujillo, Technical Secretary at ASORLAC

As a long-standing member of GLEIF's Vendors and Services Providers Relationship Group, LexisNexis® Risk Solutions firmly supports the LEI initiative. From our applications of LEIs in screening to our payment solutions and correspondent banking applications, we are proud of our long-standing partnership with GLIEF. The LEI plays a pivotal role in our screening solutions, enabling precise entity identification and enhancing risk management capabilities for our clients across diverse industries.

Nina Kerkez, Senior Director at LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Since the inception of the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), the global LEI population has grown rapidly. As a previous ROC member who supported its establishment, I am thrilled to see the Global LEI System attracting more attention and becoming a part of critical market infrastructures. Further adoption of the LEI across the private sector will enhance efficiency and lead to significant cost savings. I look forward to continuous cooperation with GLEIF to further promote the LEI in Asia.

Satoru Yamadera, Inaugural member of the Regulatory Oversight Committee of the Global LEI System (2013 – 2014)

In 10 years, the Global LEI system has gone from an idea to a core piece of the financial infrastructure, solving critical identity issues in financial markets. This is a testament to a core truth – that understanding and representing legal entity identity is critical in finance, commerce, and other domains – and to an amazing, committed, talented team. OpenCorporates is proud to be partner with the GLEIF, and look forward to the next 10 years with excitement and optimism.

Chris Taggart, CEO & Co-Founder at OpenCorporates

As Nigeria's premier central securities depository, we are excited to embark on this journey with GLEIF and are proud of the incredible impact that the LEI has had on our financial market. The LEI is not only a crucial anchor for the sustainability of the global market, but it is also an essential tool for preventing identity theft and potential market abuses and infractions. We look forward to deepening our collaboration with GLEIF and promoting LEI adoption beyond financial markets.

Haruna Jalo-Waziri, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer at Central Securities Clearing System Plc

As digital transformation reshapes the business landscape, establishing digital trust becomes paramount. GLEIF's introduction of the verifiable LEI (vLEI) marks a significant milestone in addressing the global need for digitized, automated authentication. The vLEI paves the way for secure, efficient global transactions, empowering innovation and collaboration across borders.

GLEIF's commitment over the past decade has been more than about creating a system of identification; it's been about fostering a global business environment rooted in trust. The impact of the LEI and vLEI extends beyond transparency, enabling businesses to thrive in a more secure and efficient global economy.

As GLEIF embarks on the next decade, our vision extends beyond maintaining trust in global transactions. We envision a world where every transaction underscores the value of trust and businesses flourish in a safer, more transparent ecosystem. Join us in shaping this future as we continue to empower organizations worldwide with the tools to foster trust, innovation, and collaboration.

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