Principles for effective beneficial ownership disclosure

The Open Ownership Principles (OO Principles) are a framework for considering the elements that influence whether the implementation of reforms to improve the transparency of the beneficial ownership of corporate vehicles will lead to effective beneficial ownership disclosure, that is, it generates high-quality and reliable data, maximising usability for users.

Download January 2023 version (francais, español)

The OO Principles are intended to support governments implementing effective beneficial ownership transparency reforms and guide international institutions, civil society, and private sector actors in understanding and supporting reforms. They are a tool to identify and separate issues affecting implementation, and they provide a framework for assessing and improving existing disclosure regimes. If implemented together, the OO Principles enable disclosure systems to generate actionable and usable data across the widest range of policy applications of beneficial ownership data.

The nine principles are interdependent, but can be broadly grouped by the three main ways they improve data. The Definition, Coverage, and Detail principles enable data disclosure and collection. The Central register, Access, and Structured data principles facilitate data storage and auditability. Finally, the Verification, Up-to-date and historical records, and Sanctions and enforcement principles improve data quality and reliability.

The OO Principles, first published in December 2020, are based on Open Ownership’s work with over 40 countries as well as consultations with government, private sector, and civil society actors conducted in early 2021. They are informed by the findings of practitioners and academic researchers, established good practices for open data, and international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The OO Principles focus on the technical characteristics of effective disclosure regimes rather than the external political, social, economic, and cultural factors that are known to influence implementation and impact.

As the policy area of beneficial ownership transparency continues to evolve, the OO Principles are iteratively refined and updated on a regular basis based on Open Ownership’s collective knowledge and experience. This is to ensure the framework remains current and well placed to lead to actionable and usable data, maximising the potential for impact. Suggestions, feedback, and comments to feed into the revision of the OO Principles are welcome, and can be sent to: [email protected].

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