Nowhere to hide: Realising the potential of beneficial ownership reform


All actors should

  • support ambitious, meaningful and continuing reform of the global standards on beneficial ownership transparency, in particular by ensuring that central beneficial ownership registers are made a requirement.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) should

  • adopt the revisions to Recommendation 24 which are currently in draft, and move towards mandating central beneficial ownership registers as an essential component to delivering rapid and efficient access to accurate beneficial ownership information.

Governments should

  • deliver on existing commitments to beneficial ownership reform by implementing these effectively, in line with emerging best practices detailed in the Open Ownership Principles and Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group terms of reference;
  • take an impact-oriented approach to implementing reforms, by mandating and resourcing agencies to use beneficial ownership data to deliver the impacts required in their national context;
  • make a commitment to beneficial ownership reform (where this has not yet been done) through fora such as the Summit for Democracy and the Open Government Partnership;
  • use the Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group to champion international support for beneficial ownership reform, and continue to share knowledge and expertise on effective implementation.

Companies should

  • champion beneficial ownership transparency publicly and vocally, emphasising the benefits to society and, more specifically, the benefits it brings to their operations;
  • outline the specific ways in which beneficial ownership transparency enhances and facilitates the execution of their own anti-corruption and integrity policies, particularly if they operate in multiple jurisdictions, take on government contracts or require a clear social licence to operate, e.g. extractives companies.
  • if they are a media or technology company which allows political advertising, obtain and publish the beneficial ownership information of clients which fund political advertisements, to protect democracy and strengthen the fight against disinformation.

Regulated sectors should

  • clearly and vocally champion beneficial ownership transparency reforms, as part of their wider obligations to avoid enabling corrupt practices;
  • industry standard-setters such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative should build on their existing requirements with robust assessments of countries’ progress on beneficial ownership transparency, and further strengthen the requirements of such industry standards over the coming years;
  • standard-setting bodies and firms providing accounting and financial services should champion beneficial ownership reforms, and increase collaboration to ensure that new and growing sectors, such as conservation, fisheries, and renewable energy, can leverage the knowledge, success and challenges experienced in other industries.

Multilateral organisations, including the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, the World Bank, and regional development banks should

  • require beneficial ownership transparency within their own financing and lending instruments, to ensure that all funds spent by these organisations can be publicly traced to the ultimate beneficiaries;
  • offer sustained financial, technical, and political support to member and recipient countries to ensure that beneficial ownership reforms are effectively implemented, that the resulting information is used across government, and that resources are in place for national-level bodies to effectively fulfil their responsibilities to fight corruption and financial crime.

Foundation donors should

  • continue their support for beneficial ownership transparency, prioritising unrestricted and long-term funding that has driven many of the civil society advances of the last decade, and provide valued spaces for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and learning;
  • actively grow the donor community, leveraging links to critical policy agendas such as human rights, conservation, and the energy transition.

Civil society actors should

  • continue to advocate for effective beneficial ownership reforms, operating globally, regionally, and nationally to catalyse context-appropriate reforms.
  • document evidence of how and what works, and drive the increased use of beneficial ownership data to deliver impact.

Next page: Conclusion