Learning the lessons from the UK’s public beneficial ownership register

  • Publication date: 02 November 2017
  • Authors: Global Witness, Open Ownership


The UK register has demonstrated that it is possible to establish a public register of company beneficial ownership that is workable, effective and balances the legitimate needs of vulnerable individuals for privacy against the wider benefit of placing beneficial ownership information in the public domain. The register has also set the standard for publishing this data as open data, improving data quality and maximizing the value to business and society.

As with all ground-breaking initiatives there is always room for improvement, and reducing the ownership thresholds and improving data validation and verification could have a huge impact on increasing robustness of the register.

As other countries look towards setting up their own public registers of company beneficial ownership information – including across the EU and countries engaged in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – there is much that can be learnt from the UK register to ensure these registries make the most value out of this data.

Next page: Annex: The UK register’s beneficial ownership disclosure requirements