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U4 Helpdesk Answer

The uses and impact of beneficial ownership information

Obscure ownership enables legal entities to become vehicles for illicit activities, act as pawns in corruption schemes, and evade or avoid taxation. Beneficial ownership information is perceived as a powerful policy tool to combat anonymity. This Helpdesk Answer provides an overview of how a wide variety of stakeholders use or could be using beneficial ownership information and provides examples of impact. The answer also analyses what is known about how the conditions of beneficial ownership registers influence their use. Finally, it assesses how development practitioners can engage with the beneficial ownership transparency agenda.

24 March 2023
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The uses and impact of beneficial ownership information

Main points

  • Beneficial ownership registers, primarily established within AML frameworks, can be useful to competent authorities and obliged entities and to members of the public to effectively prevent, detect, and counter financial crime.
  • Examples of uses beyond the AML sector have shown the untapped potential of the use of beneficial ownership information by a wider range of stakeholders advancing broader policy objectives, including public procurement, tax justice and sanction implementation.
  • The type of access, available functionalities, and the quality of information in beneficial ownership registers influence their use and can lead to a proactive use of this data.

Cite this publication

Castro Orduna, M.; Fraiha Granjo, A.; (2023) The uses and impact of beneficial ownership information. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:6)

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Maria Constanza Castro Orduna
Adriana Fraiha Granjo


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)