The Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF) has given us a glimpse of what’s to come. The organisation’s alphanumeric LEI code was embedded into its 2018 financial report. It’s the first official business report to have verified LEI reference data published with the electronic version of the document.
The report was also published with the embedded signatures of GLEIF’s executive officers. These signatures can be used to verify that the document containing the machine-readable LEI and the signatories are from the same company. This provides assurances to the end users of the information that the data is reliable, published by the relevant company and that it has not been tampered with.
Financial statements can also be published with the auditor’s signature, further increasing certainty and trust.
The information is embedded using XRBL technologies. XRBL is the international standard for digital business reporting. The tech is currently used in more than 50 countries around the world. XRBL describes the technology as being akin to “the change from film photography to digital photography, or from paper maps to digital maps”. In the context of XBRL Standard documents, they are capable of everything paper-based and PDF documents are, but also open up a host of new possibilities. It allows for sensitive financial data to be quickly shared in such a way that end users can validate the spread of the information at every point in the process.
The GLEIF is working towards “revolutionizing the process of publishing, accessing and aggregating trusted digital financial information”, while further solidifying the status of the LEI as a mechanism with tangible benefits to the global financial market. The revolution comes with enormous benefit to:
- The companies using the embedded LEIs. It allows them to publish and share data that has been electronically signed by relevant members.
- Shareholders can gain a better understanding of the companies based on reliable data that’s more easily accessible.
- The Authorities and Banks who need to gather and assess reliable data from the companies.
In addition to these benefits, there are broad advantages to machine-reading LEIs being embedded within company documents for financial market participants:
- Increased trust in documents published and distributed digitally
- Increased access to information regarding company ownership
- Further reductions in fraud
The GLEIF is working with the International Organization for Standardization to make digital signing using the company’s unique LEI available to the companies who have registered for them.