Beneficial ownership transparency laws have been approved in several countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa. Many countries have recently established or are in the process of establishing beneficial ownership registers. Some of them have opted for public registers, such as countries in the European Union, while others have opted for maintaining the register closed to the public. Regardless of who has access to the beneficial ownership information, a problem common to all registers is the quality of the data. Very few countries have adequate mechanisms to ensure the accuracy and independently verify data provided by legal entities.
We are proposing to bring together experts from different sectors and areas to jointly work on a pilot on beneficial ownership data verification. There are different ways of doing that: from simple and relatively straightforward solutions such as establishing an online standardized form to more complex cross-check of data using artificial intelligence. We are proposing to develop a pilot on beneficial ownership verification that provides a menu of options to help a wide-range of countries, regardless of their legal framework, level of development, and access to technology, to improve the quality and accuracy of beneficial ownership and company data.
Within this framework, to exploit the full potential of beneficial ownership transparency, it is proposed to set up a multi-stakeholder advisory working group to promote the verification of beneficial ownership information. The advisory working group will use the expertise, resources and skills from its diverse constituency of civil society organizations, international organizations, governments and the private sector (for example, through the World Economic Forum) to evaluate, advise and help implement national pilots in selected countries. Successful pilots are to be expanded or replicated in other countries, including in countries that are in still in the initial process of establishing their beneficial ownership registers.