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Beneficial Ownership

Beneficial ownership transparency has emerged as an important policy tool in countries for combating corruption, stemming illicit financial flows, and fighting tax evasion.

Overview

Anonymous companies are often used to hide corruption. In most countries, disclosure of the individual(s) who ultimately controls or profits from a business is not required. This can result in people using anonymous companies to hide corruption. According to the World Bank, roughly 70 percent of the biggest corruption cases between 1980 and 2010 involved anonymous companies.

As of July 2019, over 20 OGP countries have made commitments to advance global norms on beneficial ownership transparency. 

In May 2019 – at the OGP Global Summit – OGP supported the launch of a global coalition of governments and partners advancing beneficial ownership transparency. This Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group, initiated by the United Kingdom and supported by partners, including OpenOwnership, seeks to advance a set of co-created principles through OGP and other platforms.

Argentina, Armenia, Finland, Kenya, Latvia, Norway, Slovakia, and Ukraine have made formal endorsements to join the coalition.


Beneficial Ownership Design

Global Report – Beneficial Ownership

Beneficial ownership transparency has emerged as an essential means for combating corruption, stemming illicit financial flows, and fighting tax evasion.


Recommendations

  • Strengthen disclosure requirements by reinforcing underlying legal and regulatory requirements. As much as $120 billion a year is laundered through London. In response, the UK government created a public register of beneficial owners that is accessed 20,000 times as day.
  • Verify registered informants. Denmark and Slovakia currently have public registries that include steps to confirm the accuracy of the information submitted.
  • Engage citizens to monitor and report improprieties, including enabling citizens to actively use ownership data to uncover networks of corruption. 

OGP Global Report Data

The data below is drawn from the 2019 OGP Global Report. You can view and learn more about the report here.

These are members making OGP commitments to improve their performance in the respective policy area. As members that have demonstrated political commitment through OGP, the next step is ensuring that implemented commitments have maximal impact.

Key
Indicates that member has a starred commitment in this policy area.


Resources

  1. Finding the Real Beneficiary - Video

    Watch this video case study that highlights early results from the Slovak Republic's public register on beneficial ownership.

    2019, Stories, Web Page

  2. Global Report - Beneficial Ownership

    Beneficial ownership transparency has emerged as an essential means for combating corruption, stemming illicit financial flows, and fighting tax evasion.

    2019, Document, PDF

  3. Beneficial Ownership Fact Sheet

    Snapshot of global progress and member-level examples of beneficial ownership work in OGP

    2019, Document, PDF

  4. Where Do We Go From Here? Taking Stock of Beneficial Ownership Transparency

    A few weeks ago, the Government of Georgia hosted the Fifth Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Tbilisi. The event…

    2018, Stories, Web Page

  5. Advancing Collective Action on Beneficial Ownership

        When a country first joins OGP, and we speak with civil society and government for the first time,…

    2017, Stories, Web Page

  6. Revealing Who Stands Behind Companies

    Explore EITI’s resources on beneficial ownership disclosure for the oil, gas and mining industries.

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  7. Tales of the Unacceptable

    Read case studies from Global Witness featuring investigations uncovering corruption dealings through anonymous companies.

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  8. OpenOwnership’s Implementation Guide

    , Outbound Link, Web Page

  9. Privacy or Public Interest? Making the Case for Public Information on Company Ownership

    Learn about the debates surrounding the intersection between data protection and privacy laws and tackling corruption through beneficial ownership registers…

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  10. Data Protection and Privacy in Beneficial Ownership Disclosure

    Explore the rationales and risks for the public disclosure of ownership data in this report by OpenOwnership, The B Team…

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  11. Recommendations on Beneficial Ownership for OGP Action Plans

    Read Transparency International’s report for model commitments, best practice for opening registers, and more.

    2018, Outbound Link, Web Page

  12. United Kingdom - Beneficial Ownership

    2018, Document, PDF

  13. Can beneficial ownership transparency really be compatible with data protection?

    In recent years, we’ve seen significant progress on clamping down on the abuse of anonymous company ownership through beneficial ownership…

    2018, Stories, Web Page


Commitments

  1. Starred commitment Ensure Greater Transparency Around Bids and Contracts

    KE0014, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  2. Starred commitment Open Contracting

    GH0014, 2015, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  3. Starred commitment Beneficial Ownership

    FR0009, 2015, Beneficial Ownership

  4. Starred commitment Company Beneficial Ownership Information

    UK0048, 2013, Beneficial Ownership

  5. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    NO0061, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  6. Beneficial ownership registry

    SL0025, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  7. Register of Beneficial Owners

    IT0059, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  8. Public Access to Central Register of the Republic of Macedonia

    MK0122, 2018, Beneficial Ownership

  9. Corporate Transparency

    CA0066, 2018, Beneficial Ownership

  10. Commercial Regulations of Companies Owning Local Governments

    HR0029, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  11. Collaboratively Build a Policy Proposal on Creating a Record of Real Owners (Final Beneficiaries - BF) Business

    CL0061, 2018, Beneficial Ownership

  12. Beneficial Ownership

    KE0018, 2018, Beneficial Ownership

  13. Extractives Data Management

    ID0092, 2018, Beneficial Ownership

  14. Beneficial Ownership Register

    AM0037, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  15. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    UA0076, 2018, Beneficial Ownership

  16. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    LR0035, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  17. Beneficial Ownership

    GH0022, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  18. Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

    PH0052, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  19. Extractive Sector Transparency

    NG0003, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  20. Beneficial Ownership Register

    NG0006, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  21. Beneficial Owenrship

    LV0038, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  22. Information Transparency of the Owners of the Entities with Rights to Use Mineral Resources

    MN0033, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  23. Beneficial Ownership – UK

    UK0063, 2016, Beneficial Ownership

  24. Register for Ultimate Beneficial Ownership

    NO0053, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  25. Implement the G20 High Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency 2. Implement a Register of Legal Persons and Arrangements

    ZA0023, 2016, Beneficial Ownership

  26. Beneficial Ownership Transparency

    AU0002, 2016, Beneficial Ownership

  27. Beneficial Ownership Verification System

    UA0061, 2016, Beneficial Ownership

  28. Extractive Industries Transparency

    AU0003, 2016, Beneficial Ownership

  29. Forums on Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

    BG0064, 2016, Beneficial Ownership

  30. Beneficial Ownership Disclosure in Public Contracts

    BG0070, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  31. Establish a Register of Beneficial Ownership

    IE0048, 2016, Asset Disclosure

  32. Transparency of Legal Entities

    US0082, 2015, Beneficial Ownership

  33. Legislative Openness

    UK0051, 2013, Beneficial Ownership


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