Reference data management operations still need some stimulation to move forward on LEI implementation
Inevitably, every costume shop that pops up in advance of Halloween here in New York will have some variation on the characters from "Grease"—a ‘50s Travolta-like greaser or a "Pink Lady" gang outfit. So I was struck by a remark made in our LEI webcast (to be summarized in a feature in the November print edition of Inside Reference Data going to press this week) that the legal entity identifier should be viewed as "strategic grease" for "the wheels" of the industry's reference data management.
This inventive turn of phrase was coined to describe how the LEI can eliminate friction coming from miscommunicated or confused fund names, market events or entity identifiers. But to listen to the webcast as a whole, or read our upcoming report, it looks like "strategic grease" still needs to be applied to getting firms to register for an LEI and be prepared to comply with the LEI standard.
Last month, we also identified another issue that may need some grease—intellectual property claims on the LEI. But more striking, polls taken during the webcast found that just 24% of our listeners (about 600 people tuned in) had registered themselves for an LEI, but 59% see implementation of the LEI as a strategic investment, rather than just a regulatory compliance requirement. In addition, 46% said combining their LEI projects with other projects designed to meet their firms' business requirements was the biggest hurdle they saw for meeting the LEI standard.
Judging by these numbers, which aren't a scientifically rigorous assessment, but still a good representative snapshot of what's happening in the industry, it appears that there is at least some understanding of the value of implementing the LEI. Some spur is needed, though, to propel firms to make the leap from just having an LEI to seeing the LEI as a strategic investment and getting it combined with high-priority business operations projects—the equivalent of Sandy showing up in the black bodysuit and getting Danny back at the end of that movie.
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