Building an auditable record of beneficial ownership


This technical guidance is part of a series on emerging topics related to the effective implementation of beneficial ownership transparency reforms. It is aimed at technical professionals, especially those with a role in the technology architecture of registers that publish beneficial ownership data. The thinking set out here will inform future updates to the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard.

This guidance has been produced as part of the Opening Extractives programme which is implemented jointly between the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative International Secretariat and Open Ownership. Opening Extractives aims to transform the availability and use of beneficial ownership data for effective governance in the extractive sector. 

Keeping up to date and historic beneficial ownership records underpins any transparency initiative around company ownership and control, and is one of the Open Ownership Principles for Effective Beneficial Ownership Disclosure. It is for this reason that many business registers now require the timely reporting of changes to beneficial ownership. But just as crucial is ensuring those records are easy to access, interpret and check; that is, that they are auditable.

This guidance will identify five features that support auditability:

  1. Reliable and comprehensive dates and times
  2. Reliable identifiers for people and entities
  3. Traceable source information
  4. Visible information gaps
  5. Publication policy

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