Beneficial ownership transparency and the United Nations Convention against Corruption: progress and recommendations

The 10th Conference of the States Parties: Maximising the value of beneficial ownership information as an anti-corruption tool

CoSP10 presents an invaluable opportunity to guide States parties in their achievement of BOT. By adopting a new resolution, States parties’ will seize the moment to strengthen their BOT commitments and advance their effective implementation. Open Ownership therefore makes the following recommendations to update Resolution 9/7:

  • Ensure that adequate, accurate and up-to-date BO information is collected, including historical records, using a multi-pronged approach that includes information held in registers maintained by a government authority.
  • Ensure adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on BO is accessible to all relevant actors to enable the prevention and detection of corruption, such as domestic and foreign competent authorities, including national law enforcement, financial intelligence units, tax administrations, anti-corruption agencies, and procurement agencies, as well as civil society organisations, the media, and other relevant stakeholders that can help prevent and detect corruption.
  • Encourage States parties to make information in BO registers publicly and freely accessible and searchable online, as an efficient way to ensure timely access to BO information for all relevant actors. Such access should be defined in accordance with domestic privacy and data protection legislation but without undue obstacles or barriers.
  • Facilitate, encourage, and promote the safe use of BO information by a wide range of stakeholders to maximise its impact in preventing and detecting corruption.
  • Ensure that BO reforms build on existing international standards and good practices, including to establish appropriate legal frameworks that provide a robust definition of “beneficial owners”, to cover the widest range of corporate vehicles – including foreign corporate vehicles with sufficient link to the country in which the reform takes place. To set sufficiently low thresholds, ensure that direct and indirect ownership and control interests held by natural persons are captured in detail, and to use these legal frameworks to guide the development, infrastructure, and mechanisms for collecting information, that is centralised, verified, structured and can be accessed and used rapidly and efficiently.
  • Establish effective mechanisms for the verification of data and ensure that relevant domestic authorities collaborate and have the necessary powers and resources to do this.
  • Ensure that non-compliance with beneficial ownership regulations by corporate vehicles is subject to appropriate effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions.
  • Use digital and innovative technologies and adopt existing international data standards, such as the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard (BODS), to facilitate the exchange of structured BO information, ensure interoperability of the data with other domestic and foreign data sets, such as those covering public procurement, sanctions, and PEPs, and thereby fostering international cooperation and collaboration among competent authorities.
  • Ensure that BO data is used in all public procurement systems.
  • Collect and exchange evidence of impacts and best practice on a continual basis related to BOT policies, registries, verification systems, and implementation methods.