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#3 in the Financial Inclusion Interview Series – The vital role of LEI Issuers in facilitating wider adoption of globally recognized business identities across Africa with Alberta Abbey from LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group)

Following the launch of GLEIF’s digital business identity initiative designed to bridge the trade finance gap in Africa, we’re catching up with our key partners to hear their thoughts on how the project will bring about greater financial inclusion for SMEs on the continent and beyond.


Author: Alberta Abbey, LEI Analyst, Data & Analytics, LSEG

  • Date: 2021-10-13
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All around the world, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) lack the legal documentation that can prove who they are to banks, service providers and other businesses. As a result, millions are struggling to access trade finance and create partnerships, particularly in developing economies.

Following the launch of GLEIF’s digital business identity initiative designed to bridge this trade finance gap in Africa, we’re catching up with our key partners to hear their thoughts on how the project will bring about greater financial inclusion for SMEs on the continent and beyond.

We spoke with Alberta Abbey, LEI Analyst, Data & Analytics, LSEG to discuss how this initiative will support wider adoption of globally recognized business identities, in the form of Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs), across Africa and how to encourage more entities across Africa to obtain LEIs.

LSEG performs an important role in the Global LEI System as a LEI Issuer, also known as a Local Operating Unit (LOU). LEI Issuers are accredited by GLEIF to issue LEIs to legal entities, supplying registration, renewal and other services, and acting as the LEI system’s primary interface with legal entities. They also work in cooperation with Validation Agents, a new operational model within the system which allows financial institutions to obtain and maintain LEIs for their clients, to support their issuance workflows.

What was LSEG’s role within this flagship initiative?

As the LEI issuing organisation, we provide training and ongoing support to the African Validation Agent.

Why did you decide to become involved with the initiative?

LSEG joined this initiative to facilitate wider LEI adoption across Africa. By demonstrating the uses and benefits of LEIs, our aim is that this project will encourage more entities across Africa to obtain LEIs. We started the project with a partnership approach, which we intend to continue beyond the pilot.

As the 2nd largest issuer of LEIs globally, this project is a good opportunity to partner with the African agent to make LEIs more easily accessible across the continent.

As the LEI Issuer in the Africa LEI initiative, what benefits does LSEG hope to realize through its participation, for itself and also for the banks and SMEs in the region?

We’re pleased to be working with NMB Bank, which is the Validation Agent. Through the collaboration, we’re providing the platform that gives entities in the region access to obtain LEIs, thereby making their status internationally verifiable through GLEIF.

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About the author:

Alberta Abbey is an LEI Analyst at LSEG, a role she has held since September 2017. Prior to this Alberta worked for International Financial Data Services as a Financial Reporting Senior Associate. She has held roles at WorldFirst, Brewin Dolphin and Bank of America. Alberta has over 10 years financial services experience, starting her career at First National Bank of Chicago focusing on ISDA Derivatives Confirmation. Alberta has an MSc in International Finance and Investment from London Southbank University.


Tags for this article:
Global LEI Index, Validation Agents, Digital Identity, Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF), Data Management, Compliance, Governance, Regulation, Know-Your-Customer (KYC), LEI Mapping, LEI News, LEI Renewal