The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has introduced the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) system for issuers that have listed or are planning to list non-convertible securities, securitized debt instruments, and security receipts. This unique global identifier for legal entities participating in financial transactions aims to create a global reference data system that uniquely identifies every legal entity that is a party to a financial transaction.
What is Legal Entity Identifier (LEI)?:
The LEI code is a 20-character code that identifies legally distinct entities that engage in financial transactions. Its purpose is to provide a unique global identifier for legal entities participating in financial transactions. The LEI system helps to improve transparency in financial markets and mitigate systemic risk by providing a comprehensive and standardized database of legal entity information.
Mandate by RBI and SEBI:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mandates non-individual borrowers having an aggregate exposure of above Rs 25 crore to obtain the LEI code. SEBI has specified the deadline for issuers having outstanding listed non-convertible securities, securitized debt instruments, and security receipts to obtain and report the LEI code to the centralised database of corporate bonds and depositories respectively by September 1. In addition, issuers who plan to list non-convertible securities, securitized debt instruments, and security receipts after September 1, must report their unique global identifier code to the central database of corporate bonds and depositories during the allocation of the International Securities Identification Number (ISIN).
Authorized issuers and deadline for mapping:
Legal Entity Identifier India Ltd, a subsidiary of the Clearing Corporation of India Ltd, is authorized to issue and manage LEI codes in India. The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) accredits the local operating unit in India for issuance and management of LEI code. The depositories are responsible for mapping the LEI code provided by the issuers with the ISIN at the time of activation of the ISIN for future issuances, with a deadline of September 30.
SEBI has issued a circular introducing the LEI system, which comes into force immediately. However, the requirement of LEI for issuers proposing to list or having outstanding municipal debt securities will be specified later by SEBI. The circular mandates issuers to obtain and report their LEI code by the specified deadlines and to ensure compliance with the LEI system’s requirements.