In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, international efforts to develop a uniform global identification system for financial market participants, i.e. a legal entity identifier (LEI), were stepped up. As a unique global identification number, the LEI allows not just authorities but also financial market participants to reliably identify contracting parties in financial market transactions. The LEI thus helps to identify risks in the financial sector at an earlier stage and promote financial stability.
At the international level, the LEI is currently used primarily to identify parties to derivatives transactions. On 1 January 2016, the LEI was introduced into Swiss law in the area of reporting duties such as these under the Financial Market Infrastructure Act. The LEI is becoming increasingly important, also in other financial market areas (such as in the resolution of banks or anti-money laundering).
The current structure of the LEI system has three tiers:
- The Regulatory Oversight Committee (ROC) is an internationally broad-based committee with over 70 authorities from more than 40 countries. It comprises central banks, finance ministries and oversight authorities, and coordinates and oversees the LEI system.
- The second tier is made up of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation as the operational arm of the LEI system and a link to the third tier.
- The third tier covers local operation units that allocate LEIs. In Switzerland, e.g. the Federal Statistical Office is an accredited issuer for LEIs.
Switzerland is represented in the ROC of the LEI with two seats that are held by the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) and the Swiss National Bank (SNB). Safeguarding Switzerland's interests includes both active involvement in the ROC and the early identification of relevant developments.
Last modification 30.01.2023