Skip Navigation
Norway

Beneficial Ownership Registry (NO0061)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Norway Action Plan 2019-2022

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, Beneficial Ownership, Fiscal Openness, Private Sector, Sustainable Development Goals, Tax

IRM Review

IRM Report: Norway Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Establish public register of the beneficial owners
Responsible body Ministry of Finance
Description
What problem for the general public
is the commitment aimed to solve?
Lack of knowledge and the scarcity of available
information on the beneficial owners and ownership
structures of companies and enterprises in Norway
increases, among other things, the risk of misuse
for the purpose of corruption and economic crime,
including evasion and money laundering.
What is the commitment? Establish a publicly available register of beneficial
owners.
How will the commitment contribute
to solving the problem?
Increased transparency regarding the ownership and
control of companies and enterprises in Norway will
counteract the risk of misuse of the companies etc.
for the purpose of corruption and economic crime
by weakening the companies’ opportunity to conceal
ownership and transactions.
How is this commitment relevant to
the OGP’s fundamental values?
Release of more information
Improves the quality of the available information
Improves the availability of information, which makes
it easier for the general public to get a hold of it
Additional information The initiative is relevant to the UN Sustainable
Development Goal 16, Section 4.
Milestones Start date End date
Contact information
Person responsible from the
implementing body
Tobias Brynildsen
Entity Ministry of Finance
E-mail/Telephone tobias.brynildsen@fin.dep.no / +47 22 24 45 68
Other public participants Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
– Christian Gløersen: cgl@nfd.dep.no / +47 22 24 65 56
Collaborative civil society
organisations, cross-sectoral
working groups, etc.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

8. Establish public register of the beneficial owners

Main Objective

"Establish a publicly available register of beneficial owners. Increased transparency regarding the ownership and control of companies and enterprises in Norway will counteract the risk of misuse of the companies etc. for the purpose of corruption and economic crime by weakening the companies' opportunity to conceal ownership and transactions."

Milestones

No milestones provided

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Norway's action plan at https://www.regjeringen.no/en/dokumenter/norges-handlingsplan-4---open-government-partnership-ogp/id2638814/

IRM Design Report Assessment

Verifiable:

Yes

Relevant:

Access to Information

Potential impact:

Transformative

Commitment Analysis
This commitment aims to establish a publicly available register about the ultimate owners (UBO) of companies registered in Norway. It continues from a commitment in the third action plan (2016-2018) which resulted in proposals for the UBO register. In June 2018, the government submitted a law proposal [42] to Parliament, which was up for consideration in the parliamentary finance committee by the end of the third action plan period. [43] In March 2019, Parliament passed the Beneficial Ownership Act, mandating a publicly accessible register in user-friendly format.

This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information, and is important in terms of fighting money laundering, tax evasion, and economic crime. While the establishment of a publicly available beneficial ownership register is verifiable, the commitment does not provide details on how it will be created, or the characteristics and functionalities of the new register. According to a representative from the Ministry of Finance, the ministry will commission a government agency to develop the technical solution of the register, while the ministry will issue regulations. [44]

If successfully established, the public UBO register could significantly improve the transparency and access to information on beneficial ownership in Norway and would fulfill a major long-term priority for civil society in Norway. [45] However, Norwegian civil society has criticised the Beneficial Ownership Act as only shareholders holding more than 25 percent of the shares would be obliged to register, and foreign trusts with indirect ownership in Norwegian companies will not be listed. [46]

The Beneficial Ownership Act is currently awaiting supplementary regulations concerning the location of the register as well as technical details for accessing its information. [47] To maximise the impact of the future UBO register, the IRM recommends the following next steps:

  • Ensure that data is published in open format and use the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard (developed by Open Ownership) to maximise the interoperability of the information and meet global norms. [48]
  • Introduce mechanisms to verify the accuracy of the information presented on the UBO register. Several OGP members, such as Denmark and Slovakia, have already developed verification mechanisms for their beneficial ownership registers. [49]
[43] Independent Reporting Mechanism, Norway End-of-Term Report 2016–2018, pg 29, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Norway_End-Term_Report_2016-2018_EN.pdf
[44] IRM researcher, telephone interview with Tobias Brynhildsen, Ministry of Finance, 28 March 2020.
[45] IRM researcher, telephone interview with Ingrid Hjertaker, Tax Justice Norway, 1 April 2020.
[46] Ultimate Beneficial ownership, published by Tax Justice Network Norway, https://taxjustice.no/artikkel/faktaark-reelle-rettighetshavere
[47] Transparency International Latvia, Transparency International Lithuania, and Open Knowledge Sweden (2019), Open Data and Political Integrity in the Nordic Region, https://delna.lv/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/NB7_OD4PI_Final_cmp.pdf, pg 59.
[49] Kristine Frivold Rørholt, Update – Beneficial ownership register act, Wikborg Rein, https://www.wr.no/aktuelt/update-beneficial-ownership-register-act/

Commitments

Open Government Partnership