Having a centralised beneficial ownership register means that people and authorities can access information on the beneficial ownership of companies through one central location in a standardised format. This is a prerequisite for effective use of beneficial ownership data by all user groups, as it removes some of the practical and cost barriers to accessing and analysing beneficial ownership information.
Maintaining a central register of beneficial ownership is one of three complementary approaches identified by the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as best practice. Analysis of FATF country evaluations clearly demonstrates the importance of central registers for reducing money laundering risk: countries maintaining a central register – as opposed to relying on other decentralised approaches where companies and other institutions hold beneficial ownership data – perform better against FATF’s requirement to ensure timely access to adequate, accurate, and up to date information on the beneficial ownership of companies.
Open data is digital “structured” or “machine-readable” data that is “made available with the technical and legal characteristics necessary for it to be freely used, reused, and redistributed by anyone, anytime, anywhere.” In other words, any user of open beneficial ownership data should be able to access the data, search it freely and/or download it as structured data – for example, a .csv file that can be imported into Excel – , and use it for any purpose.
Inherent in this definition is that the data should be accessible to the public, which we cover in another briefing (“The case for public beneficial ownership data”). Here, we briefly cover the benefits of publishing beneficial ownership as structured data.View document
Many jurisdictions around the world are considering implementing public registers of benefcial ownership. Here, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions by policymakers and implementers about public benefcial ownership data.View document