Flagship Report

Anti-Corruption: Beneficial Ownership

Background:

On 20 September 2018, our team held a public consultation on how to represent the theme of beneficial ownership in OGP’s upcoming flagship report. (For more background and justification, see here.) Our aim was to present our preliminary research and to hear what we were missing, who we should talk to, and how we should frame the topic. We also received comments in writing via e-mail. The goal of this page is to summarize what we heard and to establish another channel for feedback.

What we heard from you:

What would be useful from us

  • Case studies and key figures showing impact / benefits of beneficial ownership
  • Aggregating evidence from various countries that have had registers in play
  • Case studies from countries that are on the leading edge
  • Discussion of how beneficial ownership data relates to privacy and accessibility
  • Small businesses: how those without complex ownership information have reacted to reporting data to registers in OGP countries
  • Sector-by-sector approach: pros/cons compared to a cross-cutting approach

Important issues to consider

  • Interoperability across local, state / provincial, and international jurisdictions
    • Beneficial Ownership Data Standard and international cooperation
  • Privacy: the compatibility of beneficial ownership registers with domestic and international privacy legislation
  • Differences in how CSOs / private sector / government view the issue
  • Challenge of offshore money and entities
  • Important granular details for strong beneficial ownership disclosure:
    • Unique identifier, full name (first and last) of owner and extent of ownership
    • Date of birth to help with searchability
    • Tax residency
    • Citizenship
    • Service address
  • Framing: money and politics could be a better framing than beneficial ownership
  • Legislative harmonization: engaging Parliaments and aligning BO with existing privacy and data protection legislation
  • Linking extractives and beneficial ownership is important
  • Look at evidence of compliance with EU Anti-Money Laundering Directives
  • Connecting beneficial ownership to open contracting and clean procurement

Case studies

  • UK: Positive trends documented in the recent Global Witness report (on the UK register’s effects on Scottish partnerships)
  • Canada: Legislation that requires due diligence reporting by financial institutions while other sectors (such as real estate and luxury good dealers) are not required to collect information. This is likely to change. How these new players will react is unclear.
  • Other ideas include Nigeria, Ukraine, Slovakia
  • Latvia: OGP commitment 11 from NAP3

How we plan to address / incorporate your feedback:

  • We will look at data interoperability as an essential component of high-quality beneficial ownership data. We hope to highlight examples of governments leading on this topic, and assess the benefits of standardizing data across jurisdictions.
  • An important focus of our work on this theme will be to present case studies that assess early results across countries. Our goal will be to aggregate evidence of implementation in different country contexts and at different stages of progress.
  • We would like to explore the relationship between beneficial ownership data disclosure and legislation related to privacy and data protection through the commissioning of research and/or a case study approach.

What’s next?

  • We will update our approach and framing, which is currently in the “Thematic Strawmen” document linked above.
  • We welcome your feedback below (in the public comment box) or sent to our email at research@opengovpartnership.org. We are going to close comments on Wednesday, 31 October. If you would like to talk to us again, please reach out to the email above to schedule a phone call.
  • For the areas that require further research, we will commission research by partners to help inform the final report.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the consultations during the live sessions and in writing!