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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 | Recommendations | Partners | Data | Documents | Commitments | Recent Posts

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 August 2020, nearly 30 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. Transparency of asset and beneficial ownership information

    A paper from Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI.org)

    2020, Outbound Link, Web Page

  2. 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, Perspective, Web Page

  3. 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

  4. Beneficial Ownership Fact Sheet

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

    2019, Document, PDF

  5. 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, Perspective, Web Page

  6. 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, Perspective, Web Page

  7. 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

  8. Tales of the Unacceptable

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

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  9. OpenOwnership’s Implementation Guide

    Explore this guide for practical resources, knowledge sharing, and good practice on beneficial ownership transparency that is being developed by…

    , Outbound Link, Web Page

  10. 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

  11. Data Protection and Privacy in Beneficial Ownership Disclosure

    OpenOwnership, The B Team and Engine Room share the rationales and risks for the public disclosure of ownership data.

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  12. 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

  13. United Kingdom - Beneficial Ownership

    2018, Document, PDF

  14. 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, Perspective, Web Page

  15. Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group

    The Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group came together in 2019 to drive the global policy shift towards free, open beneficial ownership…

    2020, , Web Page


Commitments

  1. Starred commitment Ensure Greater Transparency Around Bids and Contracts

    KE0014, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  2. Starred commitment Open Contracting

    GH0014, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  3. Starred commitment Beneficial Ownership

    FR0009, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  4. Starred commitment Company Beneficial Ownership Information

    UK0048, 2013, Anti-Corruption

  5. Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Finance

    AZ0053, 2020, Anti-Corruption

  6. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    NO0061, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  7. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    SL0025, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  8. Register of Beneficial Owners

    IT0059, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  9. Beneficial Ownership Transparency

    MN0044, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  10. Implement EITI

    PH0061, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  11. Draft Beneficial Ownership Legislation

    AF0017, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  12. Implement Open Contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standard

    NG0016, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  13. Implement EITI Standard

    NG0019, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  14. Establish Beneficial Ownership Registry

    NG0020, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  15. Mining Sector Transparency

    BF0016, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  16. Transparency for Monitoring of Trusts

    MX0083, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  17. Disclosure of Beneficial Owners

    MX0085, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  18. Publish Beneficial Ownership Data

    SK0129, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  19. Using Open Data to Prevent Corruption

    CR0063, 2019, Anti-Corruption

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

    MK0122, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  21. Corporate Transparency

    CA0066, 2018, Anti-Corruption

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

    CL0061, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  23. Beneficial Ownership

    KE0018, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  24. Extractives Data Management

    ID0092, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  25. Beneficial Ownership Register

    AM0037, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  26. Mechanisms of Transparency and Anticorruption

    PY0054, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  27. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    UA0076, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  28. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    LR0035, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  29. Beneficial Ownership

    GH0022, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  30. Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

    PH0052, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  31. Extractive Sector Transparency

    NG0003, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  32. Beneficial Ownership Register

    NG0006, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  33. Beneficial Ownership

    LV0038, 2017, Anti-Corruption

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

    MN0033, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  35. Beneficial Ownership – UK

    UK0063, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  36. Register for Ultimate Beneficial Ownership

    NO0053, 2016, Anti-Corruption

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

    ZA0023, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  38. Beneficial Ownership Transparency

    AU0002, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  39. Beneficial Ownership Verification System

    UA0061, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  40. Extractive Industries Transparency

    AU0003, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  41. Forums on Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

    BG0064, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  42. Beneficial Ownership Disclosure in Public Contracts

    BG0070, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  43. Establish a Register of Beneficial Ownership

    IE0048, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  44. Transparency of Legal Entities

    US0082, 2015, Anti-Corruption

  45. Legislative Openness

    UK0051, 2013, Anti-Corruption


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Registrar General Alhaji Garba Abubakar from the Government of Nigeria discusses milestones in Nigeria's beneficial ownership transparency work and how Nigeria’s open government journey led to this moment. 

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Explore commitments OGP members made in their 2019 action plans, including commitments to watch in each of the eight focus policy areas in OGP’s three year strategy.

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