Initiative

Open Ownership

OpenOwnership's central goal is to build an open Global Beneficial Ownership Register which will serve as an authoritative source of data about who owns companies, for the benefit of all.

OpenOwnership will collect and link together beneficial ownership data sets from across the world as well as self-disclosed corporate data to enable companies and investors to more easily see who they are really doing business with. It will provide an opportunity for companies to distinguish themselves as leaders in transparency and openness by disclosing their own ownership on the platform.

The online ownership transparency platform provides a clear framework for companies wishing to commit to achieving ownership transparency. Primary users of the platform include a mix of SMEs, multinational businesses and civil society. The majority of commitments come from SMEs, often with a tech focus. The goals are to:

The project aims at designing a sound framework to avoid misuses and illegal practices, enhancing awareness in the business environment and among public institutions, promoting fair market conditions through clear and transparent procedures, and disseminating results to raise awareness on the issue.

This quick guide by Phyllis Atkinson looks at how criminals manipulate and misuse corporate vehicles in offshore jurisdictions to launder money. It focuses on the meaning of "corporate vehicle" and "offshore" and other related concepts such as beneficial ownership. It also gives an example of how a trust, which is one common type of corporate vehicle in the vast "offshore ecosystem", can be used for illicit purposes. 

At the opening of a five-day workshop in Malawi on Mutual Legal Assistance and the Misuse of Offshore Structures to Conceal Beneficial Ownership, the Honourable Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale hit the nail on the head. Imprisonment alone is not enough, he said. Recovering the stolen assets sends a strong message that crime does not, and should not, pay.