An effective public commitment to beneficial ownership transparency should:
Be ambitious, specific and achievable
Articulate your policy objectives and the intended benefits for the country
Be mutually reinforcing with relevant international standards, such as the EITI Standard and Beneficial Ownership Transparency Disclosure Principles
Build on the current context (for example, if a non-public register already exists, commit to making it publicly available as open data)
Identify the agencies that will be involved in implementation, and name a lead agency
Be developed in participation with relevant stakeholders including data users and policy makers
Beneficial ownership transparency is a relatively new policy area, and best practice is still emerging. Therefore, commitments should be revisited, reiterated and, where needed, extended to ensure continuing progress towards beneficial ownership transparency.
Beneficial ownership is a component in several international standards and guidelines developed in recent years. In the coming months, OpenOwnership will publish a report summarising the beneficial ownership requirements of international standards and guidance including Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Financial Action Task Force (FATF), G20 and Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), and how the Beneficial Ownership Disclosure Principles build on these.
More countries around the world are making commitments to beneficial ownership transparency, including through Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plans, meeting the beneficial ownership requirement in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Standard, and in Europe through implementing the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
At the 2019 OGP Summit in Ottawa, Canada, a new transnational coalition of governments commenced that will both drive a global norms shift towards free, open source publicly accessible beneficial ownership data for companies, and set ambitious international best practice on beneficial ownership transparency.
Members of this Leadership Group are governments that are united by a common vision of simple access by business, civil society, and other government actors to public, open data of corporate beneficial ownership that is linked transnationally. OpenOwnership coordinates the Leadership Group, provides technical assistance and facilitates discussions on international best practice and produces related guidance. You can read more about the Leadership Group here and view the draft international Beneficial Ownership Transparency Disclosure Principles.
In addition, OpenOwnership is compiling case studies of how particular countries are implementing beneficial ownership transparency; these will be available on this website in the future.