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OFR Runs Challenge Series to Solve Problem of Matching Entity Identifiers

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The Office of Financial Research (OFR) is running a series of challenges designed to develop automated technologies that could solve the problem of matching entity identifiers from different sources and, in particular, make it easier to link entity identifiers from diverse sources to the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI). Results of the first challenge will be revealed at an industry conference for database developers and users in San Francisco on 1st July.

The OFR, which was established under Dodd-Frank regulation in response to the 2008 financial crisis and has a mission to promote financial stability by delivering high quality financial data, standards and analysis for the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the public, worked with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to set the first challenge, Financial Entity Identification and Information Integration, earlier this year.

The challenge attracted eight teams of participants from IBM Research, FactSet Research Systems, Thomson Reuters, Tahoe Blue, Hasso Plattner Institut, ISMB & EURECOM, Pennsylvania State University and University of Texas. The teams began the challenge with the same financial entity identifiers from three datasets – Research, Statistics, Supervision and Discount (RSSD) codes that banks use in filing regulatory reports to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), Central Index Key (CIK) codes and LEI codes. They were given three assignments: matching the RSSD identifiers to the LEI codes, matching FFIEC entities with CIK codes, and aligning entities across the three datasets.

The OFR says early results are promising with most teams correctly aligning the codes, but notes that this is only the beginning of the challenge series that it hopes will include more and different participants including banks struggling to match identifiers from multiple sources and implement the LEI.

Commenting on the disclosure of the results from the first challenge on 1st July, Mark Flood, an OFR research principal and one of the challenge’s organisers, says: “We will have an open discussion about what worked and what didn’t work. The point is not to have a ribbon pinning ceremony for a winner. It is to have a conversation. We are trying to foster a research community around this issue.”

The research community is expected to emerge from further challenges over the next couple of years and will consider how to develop automated solutions that will deliver precision in linking entity identifiers. Organisations interested in joining the research community should contact Mark Flood at Mark.flood@ofr.treasury.gov.

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