Using reliable identifiers for corporate vehicles in beneficial ownership data


A reliable identifier is a number or reference code which is unique, stays the same over time and can be used to check the existence of a particular corporate vehicle, such as a company or trust. Having such an identifier available and present in multiple datasets is the best way to be certain that the same entity is being referred to, and to link together a range of information about the entity and its activities.

The availability of reliable identifiers for companies and other corporate vehicles in beneficial ownership (BO) datasets is crucial for connecting them with other information, for example, in company filings, licensing information, procurement disclosures, revenue reports, sanctions and politically exposed persons (PEPs) data. [1]

The 2023 EITI Standard introduces new provisions under Requirements 2.3 [2] and 2.5 [3] for countries to link BO data with disclosures on PEPs, stock exchange filings and licence registers. This technical guidance will help implementers and multi-stakeholder groups understand how reliable identifiers facilitate the connection of such datasets.

The key considerations are:

  1. Why publishing reliable identifiers for corporate vehicles matters
  2. Characteristics of reliable company identifiers
  3. Reliable identifiers as a by-product of entity registration
  4. Domestic and foreign entities
  5. Multiple identifiers for entities

[1] Open Ownership (2022), “Benefits of structured and interoperable data”, Structured and interoperable beneficial ownership data. Retrieved from:

[2] EITI (2023), “2.3: Register of licenses”, EITI Requirements. Retrieved from:

[3] EITI (2023), “2.5: Beneficial ownership”, EITI Requirements. Retrieved from:

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