A Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a global reference code which uniquely identifies a legal entity. An LEI comprises a 20 digit alphanumeric code unique to an entity, and has been required for Transparency Directive (TD) purposes and for reporting under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) for some time. It is also relevant to certain other financial services legislation.


Since 1 January 2017, each issuer subject to the TD has been required to have an LEI.

The TD applies to all issuers who are listed on a regulated market in the European Economic Area, including the Main Securities Market of the Irish Stock Exchange, and issuers whose Home Member State under the TD is Ireland.

This LEI requirement applies to:

  • issuers of equity securities;
  • issuers of debt securities; and
  • closed ended investment funds.

For more information about the requirement for an issuer to have an LEI for TD purposes, and about how to obtain an LEI for any purpose, please read our December 2016 Client Briefing: Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs).


  • EMIR
  • Counterparties to a derivatives trade reporting obligation under EMIR must have an LEI and all derivatives reported to trade repositories (TRs) must identify entities by their LEIs.

    Post 1 November 2017, counterparties cannot use interim entity identifiers as a means of identification to report trades to TRs.

  • Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR)
  • From 3 January 2018, any entity subject to transaction reporting obligations under MiFIR must use the relevant client's LEI for identification purposes when reporting transactions. In-scope entities include investment firms and operators of trading venues.

    As a result, in-scope entities will not be able to offer a service to a client which requires transaction reporting where the client is eligible to have an LEI but does not have one.

  • Other legislation
  • An LEI is required (or recommended) to be disclosed in certain reports made under the Market Abuse Regulation, the Capital Requirements Regulation, and the Solvency II Directive.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.