Here you will find a range of documents, reports, and guides explaining more about beneficial ownership and our work in the field.
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Technical assistance with implementation
Open Ownership · Mar 2021
Open Ownership provides technical assistance in all aspects of implementation, as well as advice to governments considering final beneficiary reforms. OO takes a collaborative and tailored approach, and works with governments and their partners in countries to develop support packages tailored to their needs. This document describes examples of the services we offer at each stage of the process.
It is available in English, Spanish and Indonesian.
This policy briefing outlines the main ways beneficial ownership data can improve public procurement processes and objectives, and discusses some of the key considerations and decisions that implementers face.
It is available in English, Spanish and Indonesian.
Beneficial Ownership in Law: Definitions and Thresholds
Peter Low and Tymon Kiepe · Oct 2020
To maximise the impact of beneficial ownership (BO) registers, it is important to minimise loopholes and make data as useful as possible. A legal definition of BO and its associated thresholds form the foundation on which a disclosure regime is built. This policy briefing aims to help policymakers and those implementing or supporting beneficial ownership transparency to think through the decisions required to define BO in law and to set appropriate thresholds, and how to operationalise these.
Policy briefing: Making central beneficial ownership registers public
Tymon Kiepe · May 2021
This policy briefing outlines the benefits that arise from making a beneficial ownership register public. It looks at how different user groups are able to use the data when it is made public, and identifies the benefits this gives.
It argues that there is sufficient evidence for policymakers to act on the understanding that a public register will serve the public interest. It outlines key considerations for implementers and helps devise effective and safe BOT regimes appropriate for their contexts.
This policy briefing analyses the existing policy and regulatory framework on the BOT of trusts at an international level, and highlights research and policy recommendations on the issue whilst identifying the gaps for further research. The aim is to help policymakers and those implementing or supporting BOT to think through various issues and approaches toward ensuring the BOT of trusts, as well as to outline considerations for operationalisation by identifying emerging best practice in legal and policy reforms.
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An introduction to trusts
Ramandeep Kaur Chhina · Jul 2021
This briefing aims to provide background information to the concept of trusts, and serves as a resource reference to develop an understanding of various types of trusts, their functions, and the roles of various parties of a trust. It highlights some of the legitimate and illegitimate uses of trusts, as well as the current practice in a variety of countries on the regulatory treatment of trusts. It is a background to the paper Beneficial ownership transparency of trusts for those who are new to the concept.
This short, accessible resource is a workbook to help you explore beneficial ownership. The scenarios in the workbook illustrate fictional company ownership structures, and it is designed to help you explore the extent of information disclosed when a company is required to make a beneficial ownership declaration. There are scenarios and illustrations to help you throughout.
This workbook will be useful for country implementers developing a disclosure regime, technical teams implementing data collection systems, or companies wanting to disclose their own beneficial ownership structure.
Early impacts of public registers of beneficial ownership: United Kingdom
Chinwe Ekene Ezeigbo, Louise Russell-Prywata and Tymon Kiepe · Apr 2021
The UK was the first country in the world to commit to making beneficial ownership transparent. In 2016 it launched its public beneficial ownership – or Persons of Significant Control (PSC) – register. PSC data is widely used, and has been critical in investigations into financial crime and terrorism-related offences. This report provides details of the UK’s approach and case studies of the impact it has had.
Open Ownership, Open Contracting Partnership and Oxford Insights · Apr 2021
As economic crises followed the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early months of 2020, many governments appealed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial support. The IMF released funds under emergency financing instruments and governments were asked to make commitments to introduce elements of procurement and beneficial ownership transparency. This report assesses if countries delivered on their procurement & beneficial ownership transparency commitments.
This spreadsheet template allows beneficial ownership information to be represented as Beneficial Ownership Data Standard (BODS) 0.2 data. Once completed, the spreadsheet can be submitted to Open Ownership’s Data Review Tool for validation and conversion to BODS JSON.
UK's performance against the Open Ownership Principles
Open Ownership · Dec 2020
Open Ownership’s rapid assessment of the UK’s performance against the Open Ownership Principles analyses the laws, regulations, processes and data that comprise the UK’s beneficial ownership disclosure regime.
Early impacts of public registers of beneficial ownership: Slovakia
Open Ownership · Oct 2020
Slovakia was among the first countries in the world to implement a public
beneficial ownership register and is a member of the Beneficial Ownership
Leadership Group. Slovakian public beneficial ownership data was used to
expose alleged cases of wrongdoing. Reaching this point required the
Slovakian government to overcome challenges in that process, with practical
lessons for other states implementing beneficial ownership transparency. This
report provides details of Slovakia’s approach and case studies of the impact
it has had.
Technical note: beneficial ownership transparency and listed companies
Jack Lord and Kadie Armstrong · Sep 2020
This technical note supports implementers of national beneficial ownership registers to reduce risks associated with exemptions from disclosure that exist for listed companies. It is not intended as an endorsement of the policy of exempting listed companies from beneficial ownership disclosure. Rather, the aim is to create actionable advice that can reduce the impact of policy loopholes and produce high quality data about listed companies in contexts where exemptions remain a reality.
change in beneficial ownership transparency
EITI and Open Ownership · Sep 2020
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Open Ownership (OO) are partnering to develop and deliver Opening Extractives, a new global programme to bring about transformative change in the availability and use of beneficial ownership (BO) information for effective governance of natural resources across the value chain. In order to inform the design of this programme, which the organisations have been invited to submit as a proposal to the BHP Foundation, EITI and OO conducted primary and secondary research to ensure that the assumptions upon which the programme was being designed are valid, and to collect additional evidence to complement the knowledge and experience of both organisations.
Beneficial Ownership Transparency In Armenia: Scoping Study
Peter Low, Kadie Armstrong, Louise Russell-Prywata · Aug 2020
This report summarizes findings from Open Ownership’s scoping study into
beneficial ownership transparency in Armenia in 2020. We provide a detailed
assessment of Armenia’s BO regime, analysing current and planned reforms
against OO’s principles of effective BO disclosure. The issues and
recommendations in this report will also be relevant to other EITI countries,
particularly those using sectoral disclosures as a pilot for economy-wide
Effective consultation processes for beneficial ownership transparency reform
Open Ownership · Jun 2020
Delivering improved beneficial ownership transparency is a process that should
involve as many different groups as possible, from government officials to
citizens and businesses. This briefing draws on OpenOwnership’s experience
supporting almost 40 countries to advance beneficial ownership transparency.
Throughout this work we have gained insight into how consultation can be
delivered within different political, social and economic contexts. This briefing
provides government implementers and actors supporting reform with general
guidance on effective consultation approaches.
The Open Ownership Principles for effective beneficial ownership disclosure are designed to make published data more easy to use, accurate, and interoperable. These have been reached through Open Ownership’s work developing the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard and supporting almost 40 countries to advance beneficial ownership
They are available in English, Spanish and Indonesian.
Open Ownership response to British Columbia consultation on a Public Beneficial Ownership Registry
Open Ownership · Mar 2020
Open Ownership’s contribution to the British Columbia (B.C.) consultation on a public
beneficial ownership (BO) registry. This response is focused on why making the proposed BO
registry public would improve its policy impact.
Data Protection And
Privacy In Beneficial
Open Ownership · May 2019
This is a research report from Open Ownership, The B Team and The Engine Room in which we consider the legal implications of public beneficial ownership data to the public, evaluated from both the perspective of the companies holding that information and the authorities requiring it to be disclosed publicly, and the relationship with data protection and privacy laws.
There are a number of aspects that need to be considered when designing a legal framework for beneficial ownership transparency. The Policy Reviewer works through these aspects, and guides implementers to identify specific decision points around what data is to be collected and what is to be published. The Policy Reviewer does not prescribe a particular policy approach, but is designed to help implementers to explore the relevant areas and identify legal changes required for beneficial ownership transparency.
Privacy or public interest? Making the case for public information on company ownership
Open Ownership · Mar 2019
This is a summary of a research report from OpenOwnership, The B Team and The Engine Room in which we consider the legal implications of public beneficial ownership data to the public, evaluated from both the perspective of the companies holding that information and the authorities requiring it to be disclosed publicly, and the relationship with data protection and privacy laws.
Implementing beneficial ownership transparency in the Kyrgyz Republic extractives sector — findings and recommendations
Louise Russell-Prywata, Jack Lord · Mar 2019
This report summarizes findings from Open Ownership’s scoping visit to the Kyrgyz Republic in September 2018, and the research surrounding the visit. It makes recommendations for improvements to the legal and regulatory environment, business process and technical tools that will enable the Kyrgyz Republic to fulfil its policy objective and generate useful beneficial ownership data. The issues and recommendations in this report will also be relevant to other EITI countries implementing beneficial ownership transparency commitments in line with the EITI Standard.
Open Ownership Pilot Program: Summary of Methodology
Zosia Sztykowski, Louise Rusell Prywata, Francesca Baker · Jan 2019
The Open Ownership Pilot Program supports national governments to establish open beneficial ownership registers that meets policy goals — from improving the business environment to tackling corruption and money laundering. It distinguishes itself from similar programs in that support is provided in-kind, and across the the range of policy and technical issues that are involved in publishing effective, high-quality data.
This document outlines how the pilot program operates, the benefits of being involved, our priorities for selecting country partners, and the implementation journey through which we support governments to progress from commitment to effective implementation.
Beneficial ownership transparency, privacy and data protection - IACC
Tom Walker, The Engine Room · Jan 2019
At the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in 2018 Tom Walker of The Engine Room gave a presentation on the case for beneficial ownership transparency and its relationship to privacy and data protection.
The Beneficial Ownership Data Standard — Tools for developing good quality data
Open Ownership · Jan 2019
The Beneficial Ownership Data Standard provides a way to organise information about companies and their beneficial owners. It means that if you publish data in this format others will easily be able to understand it and computer systems will be able to process it. You can think of BODS as template into which you can place beneficial ownership information. This presentation explains more about it.
Anonymously-owned companies stand in the way of better, fairer markets and a more just society. Our mission is to drive greater corporate transparency across the world by making it easy to publish and access high-quality, linked data about who owns companies. 3
Our Mission Statement sets out our vision, as well as our current strategic priorities and the key goals we want to achieve by 2020.
Improving beneficial ownership transparency in Ukraine: Review and recommendations
Zosia Sztykowski and Tom Mayne · Mar 2018
Ukraine became the second country in the world after the United Kingdom to implement a public register of the beneficial owners of corporate entities registered in country. Laws were passed in 2014 and 2015, and a decree of the Cabinet of Ministers stipulated that this information should be published by Spring 2016.
The goal of this report is to determine the best next steps to take during an update of the companies register that is planned for 2018. This report is based on in-depth research and meetings with key officials and stakeholders in Ukraine which helped us formulate our findings.
Learning the lessons from the UK’s public beneficial ownership register
OpenOwnership and Global Witness · Nov 2017
In 2016 the UK became one of the first countries to
create a public register of the beneficial owners of
companies. The UK register, called the register
of Persons with Significant Control (PSC), has both
demonstrated the feasibility of public registers and
set new standards in publishing the data as open
data, allowing others to analyse the data in bulk.
While the UK register has been pioneering, there is
much that can be learnt - both to improve the UK
register and for others considering or establishing
public beneficial ownership registers.
Briefing: The case for public beneficial ownership registers
OpenOwnership · Jul 2017
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.
Briefing: The case for beneficial ownership as open data
Open Ownership · Jul 2017
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.