By now, everyone in financial services data management has heard about the Legal Entity Identifier (the one identifier to rule them all for participants in the financial markets). However, clarity has been lacking in how LEIs will be assigned and managed, but that’s beginning to change.

The LEI was conceived in the aftermath of the Lehman collapse in 2008 and onset of the current financial crisis. Regulators were stumped because they, and the firms they regulated, had no easy way of assessing exposure to Lehman as the events of September 2008 unfolded. After Lehman, the U.S. regulators had had enough and the Dodd-Frank Act passed in 2010, mandating that counterparties to trades in the financial markets be unambiguously identified in the trade data. This was all very well, but the financial system is global and a local U.S. solution would have been inadequate, to say the least. 

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