GLEIF, SWIFT introduce first open source BIC-to-LEI relationship file

The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) has published the first monthly relationship file matching a business identifier code (BIC) assigned to an organization against its legal entity identifier (LEI).

With the launch of this open source file, GLEIF and SWIFT have pioneered a cooperation model enabling market participants to link and cross-reference these key entity identifiers free of charge. This will significantly streamline entity verification processes and reduce data management costs.

The BIC-to-LEI relationship file is built upon a mapping process established by SWIFT and certified by GLEIF. It is published on the GLEIF website in CSV format and will be updated on a monthly basis. As of February 2018, more than one million LEIs have been issued to legal entities globally. Of the approximate 130,000 BICs assigned to date, currently some 45,000 pertain to organizations that are legal entities or foreign branches, and therefore qualify for the mapping against LEIs.

Availability of the open source BIC-to-LEI relationship file will ease the process of gathering, aggregating and reconciling counterparty information based on interoperability across parallel ID platforms. This is particularly relevant to service providers active in the payments and OTC derivatives markets concerned with client relationship management, or due diligence relevant to KYC and KYS.

“The BIC-to-LEI relationships and related regulatory reporting data are in high demand by market participants,” SWIFT’s global head of payments Harry Newman said. “Mapping LEIs can be resource intensive, but at SWIFT we have a dedicated team focused on establishing the relationships to the highest quality. We look forward to working with GLEIF and the industry as we continue to help streamline compliance with Basel II and other regulations.”

“Entity identification can be a time-consuming, costly and complex task,” GLEIF CEO Stephan Wolf said. “Relevant information is often stored in disparate internal and external systems and tagged under different client ID numbers. The open source BIC-to-LEI relationship file is an important step towards consolidating information. This will significantly reduce the cost associated with entity verification to date.”

The BIC (ISO 9362) is an international standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for the identification of institutions within the financial services industry. SWIFT is the registration authority for the BIC standard appointed by ISO. In this role, SWIFT receives BIC registration requests, assigns a BIC and publishes the related BIC data record.

The LEI is a 20-digit, alpha-numeric code based on the ISO 17442 standard. It enables clear and unique identification of legal entities engaging in financial transactions. Each LEI contains information about an entity’s ownership structure to answer the questions of ‘who is who’ and ‘who owns whom’ among market participants. GLEIF ensures free access to the complete LEI data pool with the Global LEI Index. This is the only global online source that provides open, standardized and high quality legal entity reference data.