Verification of beneficial ownership data


Verification is a system of different checks and processes that can be deployed along different stages of a BO disclosure system, enforced with proportionate sanctions, with the aim of making high quality and reliable data, to maximise the utility and impact of a BO register.

In practice, this means having in place an appropriate legal framework (for example, which permits government institutions to share information) and effective software and hardware systems as well as administrative processes that implement the requirements of the legal framework in a manner that maximises use of BO data to deliver policy impact. While it is important to thoroughly assess the merits of the different combination of verification approaches in advance, governments should treat beneficial ownership disclosure as an ongoing project. It should be carried out step-by-step, while continuing to identify ways to improve, close loopholes and strengthen the use of information and data.

Verification of beneficial ownership data is a fast evolving but comparatively young !eld, and there remain areas where good practice is still emerging. For example, it is much easier to conduct verification checks on domestic nationals than foreign nationals. As more countries establish public BO registers with verification systems and as these systems are linked, the potential of what can be achieved through solid verification of BO data will increase. There is also a considerable amount that can be learned from the private sector as well as closed registers, with respect to verification. [17] However, little information about this is available in the public domain, as the limited geographic scope of the examples in this briefing shows. As one of its research streams, OpenOwnership is looking into private sector use of BO data and the verification mechanisms they employ, as well as conducting case studies of verification mechanisms in closed registers. As additional countries implement beneficial ownership transparency, OpenOwnership will continue to learn and update its thinking on best practices in verification.


[17] See, for example: Andres Knobel, “Beneficial ownership verification: ensuring the truthfulness and accuracy of registered ownership information”, Tax Justice Network. 2019. Available at: