The use of beneficial ownership data by private entities

  • Publication date: 31 March 2022
  • Author: Sadaf Lakhani

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Publication type
Research report


Private sector



Open Ownership (OO) commissioned Cognitiks to conduct research during 2020-2021 on private sector actors’ use of beneficial ownership data, including different use cases, primary drivers, challenges, and trends and emerging issues.

The research found that of the private entities surveyed, the biggest driver of BO data use is compliance with government regulations. However, challenges in using BO data such as availability and quality constrict the potential for businesses to use BO data for compliance and unlock BO data’s full potential in areas beyond compliance.

Currently, shortcomings in the data are being addressed through costly and highly time-consuming, sometimes manual, processes by third party data providers. Whilst BO data providers add genuine value, in many cases their resources are largely spent on addressing basic issues which government registers could address.

Governments are best placed to address these challenges and to collect, verify, and publish BO data, and should do so to facilitate private sector compliance with regulations and unlock additional benefits of BO data use by the private sector.

Key findings

  • The demand for beneficial ownership (BO) data by the private sector is growing, as anti money-laundering and other regulations become more stringent, and companies strive to comply.
  • Easy access to BO data that is reliable, complete, and accurate currently does not match the pace of demand.
  • Governments are best placed to ensure that BO data is regularly updated, collected, and stored according to standardised formats, verified at source, and made easily accessible in order to meet the growing demand for reliable BO data from the private sector.
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