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GLEIF and SWIFT Introduce the First Open Source BIC-to-LEI Relationship File to Allow for Interoperability Across Multiple ID Platforms

The cooperation will significantly streamline entity verification processes and reduce data management costs

Author: Stephan Wolf

  • Date: 2018-02-08
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The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) has published the first monthly relationship file that matches a Business Identifier Code (BIC) assigned to an organization against its Legal Entity Identifier (LEI). With the launch of this open source file, GLEIF and SWIFT have pioneered a cooperation model that, for the first time, enables market participants to link and cross-reference these key entity identifiers free of charge. This will significantly streamline entity verification processes and reduce data management costs.

The BIC-to-LEI relationship file is built upon a mapping process established by SWIFT and certified by GLEIF. It is published on the GLEIF website in CSV format (see ‘related links’ below) and will be updated on a monthly basis. As of February 2018, more than one million LEIs have been issued to legal entities globally. Of the approximate 130,000 BICs assigned to date, currently some 45,000 pertain to organizations that are legal entities or foreign branches, and therefore qualify for the mapping against LEIs.

Availability of the open source BIC-to-LEI relationship file will ease the process of gathering, aggregating and reconciling counterparty information based on interoperability across parallel ID platforms. This is particularly relevant to service providers active in the payments and over the counter (OTC) derivatives markets concerned with client relationship management, or due diligence relevant to know your customer (KYC) and know your supplier (KYS).

In the related press release published by GLEIF on 8 February 2018, SWIFT’s Global Head of Payments, Harry Newman, commented: “The BIC-to-LEI relationships and related regulatory reporting data are in high demand by market participants. Mapping LEIs can be resource intensive, but at SWIFT we have a dedicated team focused on establishing the relationships to the highest quality. We look forward to working with GLEIF and the industry as we continue to help streamline compliance with Basel II and other regulations.”

Entity identification can be a time-consuming, costly and complex task. Relevant information is often stored in disparate internal and external systems and tagged under different client ID numbers. The open source BIC-to-LEI relationship file is an important step towards consolidating information. This will significantly reduce the cost associated with entity verification to date. At GLEIF, we are proud to provide this joint solution and I would like to thank SWIFT for the opportunity to cooperate.

Certification of LEI mapping services

The cooperation between SWIFT and GLEIF pilots the certification of LEI mapping service offered by GLEIF to interested data vendors and other organizations. The service is designed to ensure that the LEI is appropriately matched to the applicable identifier. The certification of LEI mapping service will include a public challenge facility for all mapping relationship files, which will provide any user of a relationship file with the opportunity to substantiate doubts regarding individual pairs. Please see the ‘BIC-to-LEI Mapping Factsheet’ in the ‘related links’ section for further detail on challenging individual BIC/LEI pairs.

For more information about the certification of LEI mapping service, contact

About the BIC

The BIC (ISO 9362) is an international standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the identification of institutions within the financial services industry. SWIFT is the registration authority for the BIC standard appointed by ISO. In this role, SWIFT receives BIC registration requests, assigns a BIC and publishes the related BIC data record.

About the LEI

The LEI is a 20-digit, alpha-numeric code based on the ISO 17442 standard. It enables clear and unique identification of legal entities engaging in financial transactions. Each LEI contains information about an entity’s ownership structure to answer the questions of ‘who is who’ and ‘who owns whom’ among market participants. GLEIF ensures free access to the complete LEI data pool with the Global LEI Index. This is the only global online source that provides open, standardized and high quality legal entity reference data.

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About the author:

Stephan Wolf is the CEO of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF). Since March 2024, he has led the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)’s Industry Advisory Board (IAB) of the Digital Standards Initiative, the global platform for digital trade standards alignment, adoption, and engagement. Before he was appointed as Chair, he had been serving as Vice-Chair of the IAB since 2023. In the same year, he was elected to the Board of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Germany.

Between January 2017 and June 2020, Mr. Wolf was Co-convener of the International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 68 FinTech Technical Advisory Group (ISO TC 68 FinTech TAG). In January 2017, Mr. Wolf was named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Identity by One World Identity. He has extensive experience in establishing data operations and global implementation strategies. He has led the advancement of key business and product development strategies throughout his career. Mr. Wolf co-founded IS Innovative Software GmbH in 1989 and served first as its managing director. He was later named spokesman of the executive board of its successor, IS.Teledata AG. This company ultimately became part of Interactive Data Corporation, where Mr. Wolf held the role of CTO. Mr. Wolf holds a university degree in business administration from J. W. Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main.

Tags for this article:
Client Relationship Management, Data Management, Global LEI Index, Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF), Know-Your-Customer (KYC), LEI Business Case, LEI Mapping, Open Data, Over-the-Counter (OTC) Derivatives, Risk Management