The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is an alphanumeric code, made up of 20 characters, based on international standard ISO 17442, which allows Legal Entities operating on financial markets all over the world to be identified unambiguously.
The LEI Code contains certain basic information on the legal entity applying for it (the Reference Data or Level 1 data), such as tax code, name, registered address, legal form. It also contains information relating to the corporate structure of the applicant, that is to say who owns who (the Relationship Data or Level 2 data), which is particularly useful when reconstructing the corporate ramifications behind which in the past there was often a lack of the financial transparency necessary to guarantee the equilibrium and efficiency of the entire system at global level.
All this data is published in the LEI database, available on the GLEIF website, which is updated daily and can be consulted freely by anybody who may be interested using the specific search functions.
The organisation that encourages the implementation and use of LEI Identification codes for legal entities and coordinates the Global LEI system at worldwide level is the GLEIF (Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation), a not for profit organisation.
The LEI code is issued to legal entities that request it by operators specifically accredited by the GLEIF, known as LOU (Local Operating Units). These undergo strict annual verification of their accreditation requirements by the GLEIF, to guarantee constantly high levels of data quality relating to LEI code holders and adequate standards of security and reliability for the code issue and renewal procedures. The activities of the various LOU operating at world level are coordinated within the Global LEI system.
The LEI code is used to give simple, fast and standardised identification of parties in financial transactions subject to reporting obligations. The LEI code is unequivocally associated with each applicant and cannot be transferred from one legal entity to another. During activation of the code, the services provided by the GLEIF are used to carry out adequate controls to guarantee the uniqueness at worldwide level of the LEI code issued.
Pursuant to various European regulations the LEI code is compulsory for legal entities carrying out financial instrument transactions (such as the buying and selling of shares, bonds, warrants, state bonds and derivatives). More specifically, from 3 January 2018, when the directive MIFID II and the MIFIR regulations came into force, the number of entities required to obtain a LEI code and communicate it to their bank has been extended
In the case of operations on financial markets the LEI code is therefore compulsory for:
On the other hand the LEI code cannot be assigned and is not compulsory for physical individuals, even if they carry out financial transactions.
In Italy the LEI code can be requested quickly and simply through the InfoCamere LEI portal. InfoCamere is a LOU (Local Operation Unit) that has been officially accredited for years with GLEIF and is authorised both to issue and renew LEI codes. It is the foremost national operator and one of the first in the world in terms of the number of LEI codes issued.
The activation request procedure involves just a few steps, and is carried out entirely online.
All you have to do is register for the first time on the portal www.lei-italy.infocamere.it and then access your Private Area using credentials or digital identity tools such as the CNS (National Service Charter) or the SPID (Public Digital Identity System), which can be obtained easily, for example, by contacting your local Chamber of Commerce. At this point you are guided through an online procedure involving three phases:
Thanks to automatic recognition of the digital identity of the applicant, entities accessing the InfoCamere LEI portal using SPID or CNS do not have to digitally sign the documentation attached to the LEI code request, speeding up the time required to process the case file even further.
Legal entities wishing to obtain a LEI code can request it directly on the InfoCamere LEI portal or delegate an intermediary to do so. In the latter case it will be necessary to obtain a specific proxy document, by filling in the form available on the InfoCamere LEI portal and a copy of the delegating party's identity document.
Once it has been activated by InfoCamere the LEI code can also be found using the Chamber of Commerce company registration details, available on the website www.registroimprese.it.request
The LEI code has a duration of one year from the original date of issue and from each subsequent renewal. The code must be renewed every year in order to continue to operate on financial markets; this is because according to current regulations an expired LEI code can no longer be used. This means it is very important not to allow your LEI code to expire, to avoid the risk of your operations being blocked if you carry out financial transactions subject to reporting, maybe in an urgent situation.
Those who have already activated or renewed a LEI code will receive several automatic notifications of the fact that the renewal date is approaching, both by email and in the Private area on the portal, which can be accessed subject to registration or authentication. This means there is no risk that your LEI code will lapse.
Thanks to real time interconnection with the official Italian economic registry, entities listed in the Business Register will find that their details are already pre compiled and updated when they access their Private area on the InfoCamere LEI portal to send a renewal request. For entities already listed in the Business Register and with an active code at InfoCamere LEI the procedure can be further simplified, allowing the LEI code to be renewed quickly and easily in just a few clicks using the link in the certified email message that is sent them automatically when the expiry date is imminent.
Renewal by registration or access to the InfoCamere LEI portal is the compulsory method when requesting renewal of LEI codes for entities not listed in the Business Register.
A LEI code that has been activated with another operator can be transferred to InfoCamere using a specific procedure that involves no charges. To activate transfer of a code to InfoCamere LEI simply refer to the specific section on the portal here
The costs of activating a LEI code are set by the various operators accredited to provide the service, and always involve a compulsory fee of 11 USD for each individual LEI code set by the GLEIF, which goes to fund its operations.
When selecting the operator from whom to request a LEI code the price is only one of the factors to be taken into consideration, along with equally important factors such as: the reliability and updating of data on the applicant Legal Entities, which are verified during activation of the code and published on the GLEIF website, guaranteed by automatic real time interconnection with the national Business Register; the consolidated knowledge of the national legal and economic context; the high standards of security and operating continuity of the infrastructure providing the service, which is certified periodically by external bodies assigned to do so; the simple, rapid access to a help service available in the national language.
The costs applied by InfoCamere LEI can be found in the dedicated section of the portal here
InfoCamere, the Italian Chambers of Commerce information technology consortium, is a LOU (Local Operation Unit) that has been officially accredited with GLEIF for years and is authorised to issue and renew LEI codes.
Among the principal organisations at world level and at the forefront in Italy in the management of LEI codes, InfoCamere operates directly, without using agents, and provides a high quality, extremely reliable service.
Thanks to real time connection to the Business Register - the database of all Italian companies - the procedure used to verify the identity of those requesting a LEI code from InfoCamere is simple and certified, allowing you to obtain your code within a very short time. Also when renewing a LEI code this direct interconnection with the Business Register means it is possible to proceed even faster and more easily with verification of the information present in the LEI database and confirmation of the renewal request.
Adoption of the LEI code is governed by various European regulations.
The first of these was the EMIR regulations (No. 648/2021/EU) which made it compulsory in Europe to notify the supervisory authorities (Consob in Italy) of the details of operations carried out on derivative financial instruments (whether these be products listed on regulated markets or OTCs).
This was followed by two regulations that consistently extended the area for which the LEI code is compulsory: EU directive MIFID II (2014/65/EU) on financial instruments markets and the relevant regulation MIFIR (600/2014) implementing it. With the aim of developing a single European market for financial services, this regulation has as one of its main objectives an increase in the transparency of markets and vigilance over them, safeguarding of investors and improvement in the strategies used to carry out transactions.
Since 3 January 2018, when the MIFID II/MIFIR directive came into force, all legal entities who have opened a securities account with a financial intermediary must have a LEI code.