Call on all governments to implement beneficial ownership transparency
A recent EY survey found that 91% of Senior Executives think it is essential to know who owns the companies with whom they do business. But most governments do not require ownership disclosure, and there is no global system for tracking beneficial ownership, making this impossible in many instances.
While companies can lead the way, they cannot do it alone. Governments must support them, with strong commitments to transparency and legislation which mandates beneficial ownership transparency.
Businesses can publicly support ambitious legislation and their own strong commitment to transparency – using their voice and influence in this way can help move the needle on government action.
Clear support for beneficial ownership transparency from the private sector played an important role at the 2016 UK Anti-Corruption Summit, where governments from around the world, including Afghanistan, France, Kenya, the Netherlands and Nigeria, committed to implement beneficial ownership transparency. Continued public sector support and pressure is critical to increase ambition and hold governments accountable for meeting their commitments.
If business and governments work together to make ownership transparency a new global norm, the systemic changes will provide many macro benefits to business. These include more competitive and stable markets, improved public trust, increased competitiveness in public procurement and efficient delivery of public services.
Governments spend $9.5 trillion a year globally on public works, goods and services. When company ownership is hidden, so too is nepotism, bribery and other forms of corruption in the procurement process. Beneficial ownership transparency helps level the playing field and ensures the best company is responsible for the delivery of often vital infrastructure and services.
Join us and commit to publicly support beneficial ownership transparency. We will share invitations to act in the moments where your voice can help make a difference to national and global policy.
In addition, you can join our call to governments and international institutions to support the development of Open Ownership: Global Beneficial Ownership Register.
Support from business leaders and platforms
Companies are using their membership in international fora like the B20 to encourage governments to incorporate requirements for beneficial ownership transparency in state level legislation. Through the B20, company representatives such as David Seaton, Chairman and CEO of Fluor Corporation, Sam Walsh, CEO of Rio Tinto, and Chris Costa, Global Chief Operating Officer Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services, EY LLP, have called for increased beneficial ownership legislation through policy papers published by the B20 Anti-Corruption Taskforce since 2014.
In 2014 Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Paul Polman, Guilherme Leal, and Francois-Henri Pinault, used their voice as B Team leaders to publish an open letter to the G20 calling for action on beneficial ownership transparency.
Banks want access to beneficial ownership information in the US
Additionally, in 2016, The Clearing House Association, one of the U.S.’s oldest banking associations, representing some of the largest U.S. commercial banks, wrote in support of beneficial ownership transparency. The Clearing House took this step because it believed in the importance of financial institutions having access to information regarding beneficial ownership, in order to comply with U.S. regulatory requirements.