Building an auditable record of beneficial ownership

Feature five: publication policy

Imagine being faced with stacks or gigabytes of beneficial ownership declarations - multiple ledgers in a big heap. Any additional resources that support people to make sense of the information are invaluable.

Open Ownership suggests that publishers consider providing a publication policy or data use guide alongside any beneficial ownership data. This provides an instruction manual for approaching the data, and a repository of useful, supporting information. Thinking about the features identified above which make for auditable ledgers, a publication policy might contain answers to questions like:

  • How are companies which are exempt from reporting represented in the data?
  • Why does a particular information field disappear from declarations after a certain date?
  • How does a particular correction to a system error appear in the data?
  • Where can definitions of the codes in the data be found?
  • What identifiers are used for individuals and entities and can they be reliably used for de-duplication?

A publication policy which keeps pace with the way that beneficial ownership records are presented unlocks the full value of current and historic information.


  • Publishers could release an instruction manual for any source of beneficial ownership data to help answer questions from data users.

Next page: Conclusion