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Posted in: reports

13th November 2015

Developing the Business Case for Beneficial Ownership Transparency

The B Team has been making the business case for beneficial ownership transparency—knowing who owns and controls companies—for some time now.

Anonymous shell companies, which obscure true ownership, are a major impediment to both business and society operating effectively. These anonymous companies are used for a multitude of sins, from money laundering, bribery, sanction avoidance and tax evasion, to financing terrorism or support for harmful regimes.

Beneficial ownership transparency aims to eliminate these anonymous companies with a system that makes the owners of all entities identifiable.As well as the clear benefits to society business benefits from this information. With assurance for who they are really dealing with, as partners, suppliers and customers.

Earlier this year we joined the B20 Anti-corruption Task-force to contribute to developing the business case for and advocating for business to lead by example in implementing beneficial ownership transparency, as well as monitoring the implementation by G20 states of the high level principles of beneficial ownership.

Now, we are pleased to share the group's report on the practical business use cases for such transparency. The use cases demonstrate that the business impetus for beneficial ownership transparency goes far beyond compliance, contributing to risk management, and even in some cases, competitive advantage.

Based on the first workshop of representatives from 30 businesses and organisations in Paris in June 2015, the report includes an initial list of 15 business use cases for enhanced beneficial ownership transparency. The businesses involved included representatives of banking, construction, pharmaceutical, publishing, legal and professional services organisations.In coming months we will further develop this analysis through workshops with business representatives in Nairobi, Delhi, New York, London, and Panama amongst other places.

We urge anyone from business who would like to provide any feedback, add a use case, provide a case study or participate in future workshops to contact us.