The Beneficial Ownership Data Standard

The Beneficial Ownership Data Standard has been developed to serve as a solid conceptual and practical framework for collecting and publishing beneficial ownership data, and enabling the resulting data to be interoperable, more easily reused, and higher quality. A common data standard enables the exchange of data between implementing countries and allows for a rapid build-up of best practice on collecting, storing, and publishing beneficial ownership data.

The Standard (BODS) has been developed in collaboration with dozens of international experts in company data and in technical standard-setting, across civil society, business, and academia. It provides a structured template for describing beneficial ownership as machine-readable data, laying out key data points for implementers to collect. OpenOwnership is supporting the development of the Standard; however, the Standard retains its own independent governance through the working group of international experts.

There are four key benefits to implementers using the Standard:

  1. High-quality data, without recreating the wheel. While in many cases, identifying the beneficial owner of a company is relatively straightforward, it is precisely in the cases where the true owner of a company is attempting to obscure their identity that this relationship becomes more complex. The Standard provides a template for modeling this complexity, ensuring that users have the information they need. Implementation is therefore more efficient and significantly lower-resource.

  2. Interoperability and compatibility. We have designed the Standard to ensure that published data is interoperable with other data standards in the domains of corporate and transparency and accountability data. Data published to the Standard is interoperable with other major international standards including the Open Contracting Data Standard and is compliant with the Common Reporting Standard set by the OECD. Finally, it is interoperable with beneficial ownership data published in the same format, permitting transnational linkages.

  3. Customizable to your context. The schema is flexible and data publishers may choose to use some fields and not others. We believe there is no one-size-fits all solution and are happy to work with you on finding the best fit for your context.

  4. Desirable network effects. Implementers using the Standard will show leadership to others by proactively seeking to publish high-quality, interoperable beneficial ownership data. This will enable a build-up of best practice on beneficial ownership implementation – and yield even more data sets that can be linked transnationally.