Official comment on Beneficial Ownership Information Access and Safeguards, and Use of FinCEN Identifiers for Entities
United States of America
Open Ownership Principles
Access, Structured data, Verification
Official comment on proposed rule
Open Ownership (OO) is pleased to contribute to the public consultation on the proposed rule on Beneficial Ownership Information Access and Safeguards, and Use of FinCEN Identifiers for Entities through the submission of this official comment.
OO is a global not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation that provides technical assistance to countries implementing beneficial ownership (BO) transparency reforms aimed at helping generate accurate beneficial ownership information (BOI) that complies with international standards, and meets the needs of data users across government, obliged entities and the wider private sector, and civil society.
Since 2017, OO has worked with over 40 countries to advance implementation of beneficial ownership reforms, as well as supporting the creation of over 15 new registers. This work has informed OO’s Principles for effective beneficial ownership disclosure, a framework for considering the elements that influence whether the implementation of reforms will generate high-quality and reliable data, maximising usability for users. OO has developed the world’s leading data standard for BOI, co-founded the international Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group, and built the world’s first transnational public beneficial ownership register.
OO notes that FinCEN is required by the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) to “collect information in a form and manner that is reasonably designed to generate a database that is highly useful to national security, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies and Federal functional regulators,” as reaffirmed in the proposed rule, which states it is the “core objective of the CTA to establish a comprehensive beneficial ownership database and to ensure that the information it contains is accurate and highly useful.”
To achieve this, Congress specifically required data best practices in enacting the CTA. For BOI to be usable, it should be easy to access, interpret and check. Given OO’s international experience, this comment focuses on these core aims, concentrating on global data best practices for BOI in three aspects of implementation that contribute to data accuracy and usability, bearing in mind international standards, such as those set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF):
- Verification of information
- Organising BOI as structured and interoperable data using internationally recognised data standards
- Business processes around data access to maximise usefulness
On subjects not covered by this comment, OO would like to point Treasury to the official comment submitted to this docket by the FACT Coalition, especially on concrete recommendations on how FinCEN can apply international best practice to the United States context within the parameters of the CTA. If FinCEN has any questions in relation to this comment or BO transparency reforms more broadly, please do not hesitate to get in touch.