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The OTC Derivatives Case for LEIs

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Hot on the heels of the Financial Stability Board’s creation of expert panels to advise on the development of legal entity identifiers (LEI), international regulators IOSCO and the Bank for International Settlements this week weighed in to stress the importance of LEIs to the ongoing efforts to boost transparency in the OTC derivatives marketplace.

In their new ‘Report on OTC derivatives data reporting and aggregation requirements’, the BIS Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (COPSS), which among other things outlines minimum requirements for reporting to a trade repository and acceptable data types, the trade groups describe the proposed system of LEIs as “an essential tool for aggregation of OTC derivatives data”.

So important, in fact, do COPSS/IOSCO consider the LEI that they suggest: “To promote timely development development of an LEI system suitable for international use, the (COPSS/IOSCO) Task Force recommends that the industry process include development of an LEI standard and issuance of LEIs under the auspices of an organization that develops and publishes international standards for the financial sector.”

Who can they have in mind?

Meanwhile, the Task Force recommends that derivatives trade repositories “support the establishment of the LEI system through active participation in development efforts and use of the system once it becomes established.” The Task Force further recommends that LEIs follow a set of basic principles that will allow them to support key OTC data aggregation requirements of “uniqueness, neutrality, reliability, open source and extensibility.”

Finally, the Task Force proposes that national authorities consider legislation or regulations to ensure harmonization of legal requirements for use of the LEI across different jurisdictions.

The Task Force acknowledges – as others have – the implementation challenges LEIs present. In particular, it suggests that ongoing international consultations, such as the FSB LEI workshop held in Basel last September, continue. For its part, FSB seems to have indicated that it is up for the challenge of communicating with the industry on how to bring LEI to fruition this year.

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