Legal Entity Identifier (LEI)

Let's enable smarter, less costly and more reliable decisions about who to do business with.

The LEI is a globally unique number that identifies legal entities involved in financial transactions. Financial market regulators in many countries are now requiring its use.

LEIs origins come from regulators’ response to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, where financial exposures of parties could not be easily identified. The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) is tasked with implementation and use of the LEI globally.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers uncovered the fact there was no standard global identification system for each financial counterparty in that maze. The financial crisis thus laid bare the critical need for a system to identify and understand exposures at the legal-entity level instead of the aggregate, parent-company level.


It is important to distinguish between being eligible for an LEI and being required to have one. As defined in ISO standard 17442, any legal entity that enters into a financial transaction is eligible for an LEI.

Any legal requirement to have an LEI will come from national financial regulators. Financial regulators in an increasingly large number of jurisdictions require an LEI in order to undertake a financial transaction.

For updated regulations operating in international jurisdictions, please visit the GLIEF website here.

In New Zealand, legal entities have been issued or can obtain a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). In order to obtain an LEI through GS1, you must have a NZBN. Having An NZBN enhances the integrity and reliability of the business information required for LIE issuance. You can obtain a NZBN, click here.

The NZBN is a Global Location Number (GLN) provided by GS1 New Zealand to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and information registered legal entities is then syndicated into GS1 global registries used in verification of trading parties.