Launch of version 0.3 of the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard

Data standard_Credit Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash (1)

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Today we are launching a new version of the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard to help anyone capture more comprehensive information about who owns and controls companies.

Version 0.3 of our open standard allows for the capturing of information on the beneficial ownership of state-owned enterprises and publicly listed companies for the first time as well as introducing changes informed by years of research and expert technical guidance.

Here are some of the new features:

State-owned enterprises

State-owned enterprises are a critical part of the global economy meant to be run for the benefit of the public. But more transparency is needed about how they are owned and controlled to avoid corruption risks, especially in the extractive sector as emphasised in a recent report from the Natural Resource Governance Institute.

Therefore, in light of recommendations we outlined last year, we have introduced new mechanisms to capture beneficial ownership data on states, state bodies and the people who exert control over those enterprises. Read our technical guidance for full details and related scenarios.

Publicly listed companies

Many large publicly listed companies are exempted from beneficial ownership disclosure requirements. Our 2020 technical report highlighted how national beneficial ownership registers could take steps to reduce the risks associated with this policy loophole.

Now version 0.3 has introduced a new public listing field to entity statements so that the details of company filings and securities can be captured for listed companies to mitigate these risks.

Additional interest types

Beneficial ownership transparency research in recent years has reinforced the importance of being able to fully capture a wide range of types of ownership or control that people can exert.

Version 0.3 sees the addition of new interest types relating to board membership, assets and control via company rules or articles as well as changes to interests relating to trusts. Check our changelog for more information.

Documentation on direct and indirect beneficial ownership

Beneficial owners can exercise ownership-or-control directly in an entity or indirectly via intermediary entities. To help people understand this better and to detail how to capture these relationships accurately, we’ve produced new technical guidance.

About the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard

The Beneficial Ownership Data Standard is an open standard developed by Open Ownership in partnership with Open Data Services. It recently became the approved UK government standard for the collection, use and exchange of beneficial ownership information.

It enables beneficial ownership transparency by providing a solid conceptual and practical framework for collecting and publishing beneficial ownership data, resulting in data that is interoperable, more easily reused and of higher quality.

All changes to the standard draft, documentation and specification take place via GitHub and a feature tracker is available which documents all new features being researched, proposed or implemented.

Open Ownership is currently updating the range of tools which help people create, visualise and review BODS data. These include our beneficial ownership data generator, visualisation library and data review tool, all of which will be updated to work with v0.3 of BODS

A group of data experts, beneficial ownership specialists and other interested parties also provide advice and help guide the development of the standard. Anyone can apply to join the group by filling out this form. Virtual group meetings are held quarterly and communication is coordinated through a Google group.