Have you registered your LEIs?

Emily Deane TEPEvery legal entity will need to get a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) by 3 January 2018. Emily Deane TEP explains what LEIs are, and how to get one.

What is an LEI?

The Global Legal Entity Identification Foundation (GLEIF) has designed a system where every ‘legal entity’ will need to register and obtain a unique identification number – a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) before it can trade on financial markets in the UK after 3 January 2018.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) requires investors who are deemed to be legal entities to obtain an LEI, which is a 20-character alphanumeric reference code that is unique to the legal entity. Legal entities include Trusts (but not Bare Trusts), Companies (Public and Private), Pension Funds (but not Self-invested Personal Pensions), Charities and Unincorporated Bodies that are parties to financial transactions.

Do trusts need one?

Bare trusts may be excluded from the requirement to obtain an LEI, but all other trusts will be obliged to obtain one if they are parties to financial transactions. In the case of discretionary trusts which have legal restrictions and cannot disclose trust details, the LSE will accept a validation from the trust itself and will not require sight of the trust deed. However, in all other cases the LSE will generally accept a scanned copy of the first couple of pages of the trust deed in the same way that many banks do for AML compliance.

Entities other than trusts are obliged to provide information such as their official registry details and business address. All LEI data will be consolidated in one database in an effort to improve global entity identification and standardisation.

What if I don’t apply?

If the LEI has not been obtained by 3 January 2018 then investment firms will not be able to provide the legal entity with investment services. The legal entity itself is ultimately responsible for obtaining the LEI, but some investment firms may agree to apply for the LEI on behalf of their legal entity clients. The LSE has produced a draft format (pdf) which will be acceptable in order to transfer the application authority from the entity to a third party such as a management company.

The LSE will charge an initial allocation cost of GBP115 + VAT and annual maintenance cost of GBP70 + VAT per LEI.

How do I register?

Registration for individual LEI allocation requests started on 5 August 2013. You can request your LEI via the link below, and there are two user guides to help you:

More information can be found on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website:

Emily Deane TEP is STEP Technical Counsel


19 thoughts on “Have you registered your LEIs?

  1. Nothing is said about whether an estate in the course of administration is or is not a “legal entity” for the purposes of the Stock Exchange. A little guidance would be helpful, not least because if one is, the number of potential applicants will skyrocket

    1. A bare trust holds a gift in trust for the benefit of a specified beneficiary who becomes absolutely entitled to the trust property at the age of 18. Once the gift has been made the beneficiaries cannot be changed and money cannot be withheld from them beyond the age of 18.

  2. Given the LEI provides publicly accessible information about entity and ownership, NON-EU Clients with entity accounts have chosen NOT to apply for an LEI and have been told by multiple international banks with whom they have accounts, it simply means they cannot undertake Derivatives trading, which they are already NOT interested in.

    I am not sure how that fits into this blog.

  3. There appears to be some confusion regarding bare trusts. The article above states that a bare trust does not need an LEI. We deal with an investment platform where we hold bare trusts to hold investments for minors. They have taken legal advice which has confirmed “The conclusion was that Bare Trusts do indeed require LEIs because we accept instructions from Trustees in respect of investments. Therefore they cannot be considered as purely an individual’s account where we would report the natural person”.

    Any comments welcome.

    1. Thanks Stuart. I believe the position now is that it depends whether firms classify bare trusts as legal entities or as individual/joint accounts. Where it is the latter the buyer/seller for non-discretionary accounts involving a minor (bare trust, minor, Junior ISA, Child Trust Fund) would be the minor (CONCAT) and the decision maker would be the individual responsible for opening the account. Where the account is discretionary, the decision maker would be someone at the investment firm.

  4. “In the case of discretionary trusts which have legal restrictions and cannot disclose trust details, the LSE will accept a validation from the trust itself and will not require sight of the trust deed”. What would qualify as “legal restrictions”? Don’t all discretionary trusts have a general duty of care, which on a conservative interpretation (especially in light of increasing cyber crime – why risk adding trust details to a global database which could be hacked) would preclude them from disclosing the trust details?

  5. I believe LEIs are available to legal entities, but not “natural persons”. How can I tell if I am a “natural person”?

    1. The London Stock Exchange has stated “For all trusts we do not require a trust deed if there is HMRC form or W8 BEN form that confirms the name and address of the trust. If a trust deed is submitted, we do not need the full trust deed, only the pages where we can confirm the name and address. Any sensitive information can be marked out and we do not need to see sensitive information that is not related to the LEI data.

      The LEI reference data such as the official entity name, country and address are publically available once the LEI is issued so in theory there should not be any legal restrictions where a document confirming the details of the trust (such as the name and address) cannot be disclosed for the purpose of LEI validation.

      With the exception of the one member firm – we receive validation documents for all trusts we issue LEIs to.”

  6. The article states “If the LEI has not been obtained by 3 January 2018 then investment firms will not be able to provide the legal entity with investment services”.
    We manage a number of trusts that hold investments on a managed platform with advice from a firm of IFAs. I have been advised directly from the technical department of the platform provider that “A Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) will be required by the adviser firm when carrying out transactions within Exchange Traded Instruments (ETIs), such as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) or Investment Trusts, Equities etc. on behalf of a legal entity.

    Unless the Trust invests in ETIs, you will not need to provide a LEI in order to trade.”

    This seems to be contrary to the article. I would appreciate clarification on this point
    Julie Bullough

  7. The imposition of an annual requirement for all Trusts to register for an LEI is a total disgrace. This amounts to an annual tax on Trust, and is a harsh impact on families and trustees with small estates. Why should Trusts be so harshly treated when Companies can register for a Company Number with Companies House for £85 once and not annually. Most Trusts have an HMRC Number, surely that could have been enough rather than such complex bureaucracy.

    Many major financial advisers are not helping their trust customers in this. MPs and MEPs don’t understand the impact of the annual process, and the annual cost on Trustees which can take a vast proportion of a Trust’s income.

    What has STEP done to protest, to lobby government to find an alternative, less complex, and less expensive route.

    As a Trustee we will not be registering for LEI, we hold quality investments and will not be bullied by by regulators into making bad decisions.

  8. Note that you don’t have to purchase the LEI code at London Stock Exchange. You can choose between 30 LEI authorised issuers worldwide.

    On https://lei.codes you can see a list of issuers accredited for each country, and their prices. The cheapest in most countries is Bloomberg that charge only 75 USD for the registration.

    1. Does Bloomberg require an annual renewal payment?
      What is iniquitous with this LEI bureaucracy is that, unlike individuals who can register their National Insurance Number for life at no cost or Companies who can register with their Company Number for life with no ongoing cost, Trusts are required to re-register annually with an annual renewal cost. This MUST be opposed by STEP and every Law Firm in the land for its impracticality and profound injustice.

  9. Please would you clarify the position where the Trust Investments are not directly held equities but unit trusts and/OEICS.
    Am I correct that because the fund manager is doing the trading and not the trust, the trust does not need an LEI?

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