Private sector engagement

How does beneficial ownership affect business?

Do you know who you’re really doing business with? Around 70% of corruption cases involve anonymous shell companies. This corruption is costly - adding 10% to the cost of doing business. Anonymous companies can also have a damaging effect on public reputation and market value. Following the Panama Papers leak, an estimated $135 billion was wiped off the value of nearly 400 companies.

Beneficial ownership transparency aims to eliminate anonymous companies by making the owners of all registered entities identifiable, radically reducing the cost and administrative pain for business who increasingly want and need access to this information.

Our work with companies

Beneficial ownership data is increasingly recognised as a fundamental foundation of business integrity and compliance. Unfortunately, data on who owns and controls companies is only being published by a small number of governments globally, making due diligence and compliance increasingly challenging for companies. OpenOwnership is working closely with the private sector to be an agent and advocate of change. Many companies are joining OpenOwnership in advocating for more governments to implement open data public registers of beneficial ownership.

Companies can also be agents in driving new norms within their own organisations and supply chains. The OpenOwnership Register is being used as a platform for asking suppliers and third parties to disclose ownership information publicly as part of onboarding.

Why should companies use the OpenOwnership Register?

While there are other tools that provide access to beneficial ownership and other company data, these are typically operated by companies that have a business interest in keeping their technology and data sources a secret. By contrast, OpenOwnership is open and collaborative by default. We believe that a clean business environment will only be possible when information on who owns and controls companies is open, free and linked around the world - not sitting in a proprietary database. An open system, which is accessible by business, law enforcement, civil society, media enables increased accuracy and data quality improvements due to the ‘many eyes’ principle.

The Register has been designed to serve the needs of a wide range of users including businesses, law enforcement, civil society, media and the public. By using and supporting OpenOwnership, you are signalling your support for this goal and contributing to our game-changing initiative to make this vision reality. Businesses can use the Register for:

  1. Integrity, risk management, and compliance — Assessing potential and current suppliers and third parties, identifying staff conflicts of interest, complying with due diligence requirements imposed by regulators (including extra-territorial responsibilities to prevent bribery or corruption or to avoid business with politically exposed persons).

  2. Investments — Assessing key risks or applying ethical investment screens.

  3. Demonstrating commitment to transparency — Companies can demonstrate their commitment to transparency to investors and stakeholders by providing data about their own beneficial ownership to the OpenOwnership platform and encouraging organisations they work with or purchase from to do the same.

We invite all businesses to consider using the Register. We want to shape OpenOwnership into a valuable due diligence platform and welcome all feedback and insights on how we can make OpenOwnership better suit your needs. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

Next: The Beneficial Ownership Data Standard

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