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Is LEI Code Mandatory in India?

June 19, 2023 | Corporate & Commercial Law

Any issuer who has issued or proposed to issue listed non-convertible securities, securitized debt instruments, or security receipts must obtain a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code.

A Legal Entity Identifier Code, commonly referred to as LEI Code, is a unique code assigned to all legal entities like Limited Companies, Funds, Trusts, or any organization. It is a 20-character code made up of both letters and numbers. Considering many entities around the world can have the same name, these codes allow anyone to find a specific company quite easily. Rather than relying on the name, you can simply enter the code on a global database of entities to find any company you want.

  • The LEI allows for market participants to be found on a single, standardized database.
  • It basically offers accurate information about companies, which can be accessed for free.
  • Any entity’s LEI record shall include all of its public details like their name, address, where they are registered, if they are a branch or a subsidiary.
LEIs are quickly becoming a global standard for business transactions, as more and more entities are growing to adopt LEIs – over 2 million LEIs have been created to date.

Need for LEI

When the global financial firm, Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, regulators and private-sector entities failed to quickly measure the full extent of market participants’ exposure to Lehman and the size of the network of market participants associated with the company. The financial crisis that followed created the need for a global system that allows you to identify financial connections of any legal entity and helps regulators and private-sector entities to have a better understanding of the true nature of various risk-points across the financial system.

Therefore, the establishment of the LEI system is considered a valuable achievement that addresses all such vulnerabilities and grants long-term benefits to the public and private sector.

The rapid adoption of the LEI system by the financial industry means that the data sent to the regulators and used for risk management purposes shall be more accurate, consistent and usable. It enables better monitoring and allows regulators to accurately analyze the stability and threats of the financial system. This, in turn, would also help companies enhance their risk management systems and cut unnecessary expenses used to collect, clean and analyze data and to report the data to the regulators.

How does LEI Work?

An LEI is a 20-character alphanumeric code associated with a set of reference data items that help identify a distinct legal entity that engages in financial activities in the market. It must be noted that LEI adheres to the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) 2020 specifications.

Support from the global regulatory community, private sector firms and various industry associations is mandatory to successfully operate the global LEI system. The system is overseen by regulators through the Regulatory Oversight Committee, who publish updates about their work on

After discussing with the private industry, the committee developed a central operating system known as the Global LEI Foundation. This system is headed by a 16-member Board of Directors, who are all from the private sector, and took over operations in late 2014. The aim of this unit is to make sure all entities who implement the LEI code system, operate in accordance with its governing principles, including quality, uniqueness and reliability, which are vital to achieve the aim of ‘one golden standard’ for the LEI.

All LEI codes are assigned by authorized local operating units.

Any company that wishes to obtain an LEI from a local authorized unit must pay the registration fee, along with an annual maintenance fee, which shall go towards the management cost of the units.

All units need to deposit a portion of the fees with the non-profit Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF).

Entities that Need LEI Code in India

All LEI codes are managed centrally by the international non-profit organization, GLEIF. However, some requirements may differ from country to country – which can be quite confusing for market participants. Although considering there are numerous mandates stating ‘no LEI, no trade’ around the world, as an entity, it is imperative to have an astute understanding of these codes.

When it comes to India, the LEI code system was first made mandatory for entities in 2018. However, various regulations related to these codes have been updated over the years, while several new transactions that need LEI were added to the system as well.
The entities and transactions that require LEI are:

  • Transactions with credit derivatives.
  • Rupee interest rate derivatives.
  • Foreign currency derivatives that need LEI data. (This does not include individuals)
  • All participants interested in taking part in the markets regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). (This does not include individuals)
  • All transactions in government securities markets, money markets and non-derivative forex markets.
  • All entities that make payments of INR 50 crore or more via RBI-managed systems, such as National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS).
  • All corporate borrowers and beneficiaries must also obtain LEI codes. (This prevents banks from issuing loans for the same collateral)
The rules are also applicable on any foreign entity who wishes to engage in any of the above-mentioned transactions in India. If the entity is not registered as a legal entity in the country it was incorporated in, it must use the LEI code of their parent/management company.

Who issues LEI Codes in India?

Any entity can obtain the LEI code by approaching any Local Operating Units (LOUs) that have been authorized by the GLEIF.

  • In India, entities can obtain LEI codes from Legal Entity Identifier India Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Clearing Corporation of India Limited (CCIL).
  • RBI recognizes CCIL as an issuer of LEI, while the GLEIF also credits it as the LOU of India, making it responsible for issuing and managing LEI codes in India.

LEI now Mandatory for Listed Instruments

Through a circular in May 2023, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) introduced the need to obtain an LEI for issuers who have issued or proposed to issue:

  • Non-convertible securities (NCS).
  • Securitized debt instruments.
  • Security receipts.

Reporting Requirements as per SEBI Circular

Taking the above into consideration, SEBI has made it mandatory for issuers who have listed non-convertible securities, securitized debt instruments or security receipts or those who promise to issue listed instruments to report or obtain and report the LEI code.

We have summarized the reporting requirements as per the SEBI circular below:

Applicability Timeline Must be Reported to
Issuers that have outstanding listed instruments as of 31 Aug 2023

Report or obtain and report LEI code on or before 1 Sep 2023

Centralized Database of Corporate Bonds (for NCS)
Depositories (for securitized debt instruments & security receipts)

Issuers that propose to issue and list instruments on or after 1 Sep 2023
 Report the LEI code when being allotted the International Securities Identification Numbering (ISIN) system

Centralized Database of Corporate Bonds (for NCS)
Depositories (for securitized debt instruments & security receipts)

What is the Role of Depositories?

  • Map the LEI code to existing ISINs by 30 September 2023 (in case the LEI Code has already been obtained in accordance with RBI guidelines); and
  • Map LEI code shared by the issuers with the ISIN when activating the ISIN (for future issuances).


SEBI has now stepped up to join the global movement to enhance transparency and efficiency in financial transactions. Considering the need to have a single, centralized database that allows you to obtain all relevant details about any company, the LEI code system proves to be a viable solution. As it is free to use and is being rapidly adopted around the globe, it is highly recommended that entities in India adopt the LEI system and gain the extensive benefits it has to offer.

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