09 February 2018
Reporter: Brian Bollen

GLEIF and SWIFT launch open source BIC-to-LEI relationship file

The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) has published the first monthly relationship file that matches a business identifier code (BIC) assigned to an organisation against its legal entity identifier (LEI).

With the launch of the open source file, GLEIF and SWIFT have pioneered a cooperation model, which enables market participants to link and cross-reference these key entity identifiers free of charge for the first time.

Stephan Wolf, GLEIF CEO, said: “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.”

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 and will be updated on a monthly basis. GLEIF explained that 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 organisations that are legal entities or foreign branches and therefore qualify for mapping against LEIs.

GLEIF suggested that the availability of the relationship file will ease the process of gathering, aggregating and reconciling counterparty information based on interoperability across parallel ID platforms.

It said 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) requirements.

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 the ISO. It receives BIC registration requests, assigns a BIC and publishes the related BIC data record.

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 explained it ensures free access to the complete LEI data pool with the Global LEI Index. It adds that this is the only global online source that provides open, standardised and high-quality legal entity reference data.

It offers its certification of LEI mapping service to interested data vendors and other organisations to ensure that the LEI is appropriately matched to the applicable identifier.

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