Beneficial Ownership title

The Land Registry privatisation public consultation notes that 13% of land and property title is not registered and that could undermine lowest cost identity verification due diligence, credit scores and increase non-compliance rates to maintain the People with Significant Control register.

The Land Registry privatisation debate could progress open data and risk management with total registration and purchase options and — I am not familiar with the dataset — perhaps price first advertised by each agent, unique landlord reference and compulsory purchase reference.

Anyway, one response to the public consultation, prompted by the Open Data Camp in Bristol:

openmindedly-response

 

 

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Interim Unilateral Beneficial Ownership Option

Could an interim unilateral beneficial ownership option accelerate #anticorruption summit aspirations?

The beneficial ownership debate is about lobbying and policy statements and legislation and registers and incorporation systems.  By the end of the year, jurisdictions could have a public register or a private register or no progress on a register.

On 4th April 2016 OpenCorporates announced a Global Beneficial Ownership Register project with more context in a blog post from the Open Contracting Partnership and the ONE campaign policy director.

I have already established a proof of concept on declaration of beneficial ownership on a public register, it required an internal legal opinion from Her Majesty’s Attorney General chambers because deeds on a public register were assumed to be between two parties and that a declaration of beneficial ownership by definition only included one party:

https://openmindedly.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/country-growth-hacking/

Of course, ideally, the Isle of Man Deeds Registry would be online with public blockchain technology.

Does anyone actually have a register classification scheme to reference?  GOBR will support self-reporting to bypass any delays in specific jurisdictions or specific corporate entities (business names, charities, foundations, trusts) but a draft scheme would be helpful to prompt discussions.  For example:

Level Classification Notes
0 unregulated agents nothing on client file
1 regulated agents legal requirement to hold beneficial ownership details
11 Private 1 star reference to centralised corporate register to contact declared officers or the regulated agent
12 Private 2 stars reference to centralised corporate register to contact officers or the regulated agent

legal power to require beneficial ownership declaration by officers or disclosure by the regulated agent (without tipping off clients)

13 Private 3 stars centralised beneficial ownership register with meta data to decentralised beneficial ownership data (similar to IATIregistry.org)

legal requirement to update contemporaneously

14 Private 4 stars centralised beneficial ownership register
15 Private 5 stars centralised beneficial ownership register

a Service Level Agreement (for example, 24 hours) or perhaps cross-border law enforcement  logins with specific user audit trail and unique case references

15 Private 5 stars centralised beneficial ownership meta data register to decentralised beneficial ownership data (similar to IATIregistry.org)
16 Private 6 stars decentralised beneficial ownership register
17 Private 7 stars decentralised consolidated corporate register with beneficial ownership data (i.e. government only private blockchain to support tax information exchange agreements)
21 Public 1 star centralised corporate register with optional beneficial ownership declaration (i.e. self-reporting)
22 Public 2 star centralised beneficial ownership register
23 Public 3 star centralised beneficial ownership register

aggregated analytics on public interest trends

24 Public 4 star centralised beneficial ownership register

open data API to support projects such as GBOR

24 Public 4 star centralised beneficial ownership meta data register to decentralised beneficial ownership data (similar to IATIregistry.org)
25 Public 5 stars centralised beneficial ownership register

open data API to support projects such as GBOR

legal requirement to update contemporaneously

25 Public 5 stars centralised beneficial ownership meta data register to decentralised beneficial ownership data (similar to IATIregistry.org)

legal requirement to update contemporaneously with randomised regulator audits

26 Public 6 stars decentralised consolidated corporate register with beneficial ownership data i.e. public blockchain operated by governments, the media, stock exchanges, universities, charities, etc.
27 Public 7 stars decentralised consolidated corporate register with beneficial ownership data i.e. public blockchain operated by governments, the media, stock exchanges, universities, charities, etc.

legal requirement to update contemporaneously

I have relentlessly encouraged the Isle of Man to progress in the annual Open Knowledge open government league table from top 100 (rebased) to top 40 to top 20 and hopefully top 10 in Q3 2016.

On 6th May 2016 the Isle of Man Government announced new functionality with an online incorporation and demonstrates that new functionality is an option.  An important factor though is that smaller governments typically outsource the incorporation system and therefore any new functionality requires a prioritised business case in an increasingly complex (i.e. slower) cross-government procurement process or approval of an unplanned external cost (i.e. higher) prompted by global macro factors as either an upgrade by the existing supplier at backloaded commercial rates or a securitisation option that would increase fees that may not then be internationally competitive.

What do I mean by an interim unilateral system?

Something that would address reasonable concerns on competitor jurisdictions.

Consider a legal requirement that a specific beneficial owner must:

  • adopt a unique anonymised beneficial owner reference (similar to the global legal entity identifier) in a specific jurisdiction
  • consistently apply that unique beneficial owner reference to any corporate activity in a specific jurisdiction
  • declare that a unique beneficial owner reference has been applied on key documents such as incorporations, annual returns, share allotments and share transfers.

The largest impact is likely to be when agents discover they do not actually have an “exclusive” relationship with a beneficial owner (i.e. they lied) and technically they are not eligible for discounted management fees on corporate structures.

Unilateral actions could prompt a multilateral network effect.

Feedback welcome.

Funding offers welcome too!

 

 

Anti-Corruption Summit in London

11th May 2016:  updated to include nominal cost draft UK #anticorruption guarantee scheme forwarded to Open Knowledge session lead Mor Rubenstein and highlighted via Twitter (I guess the next blog post should be insights on the real world path to beneficial ownership public registers):

a draft UK #anticorruption guarantee scheme

Governments typically take a long time to progress anything meaningful and individuals rarely have the self-funding to sustain significant efforts year on year and civil society funding mechanisms are largely undeveloped or very conservative in the sub-national jurisdictions likely to be discussed the most.

Undoubtedly, some non-standard open government experts and open data hacktivists could add a lot to the pubic and private discussions at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London next week.  Unfortunately, they are the ones least able to add a lot to an offshore bank account or a credit card lol:

Screenshot 2016-05-07 at 15.15.48

I have helped push an offshore jurisdiction in the Open Knowledge open government league table from top 100 (rebased) to top 40 to top 20 and potentially to top 10 in Q3 2016 but nonetheless I very reluctantly had to ask several times not to be nominated in the recent Open Government Partnership International Expert Panel round precisely because of the unsustainable commitments requested of anyone in the open data community determined to self-fund via debt if required rather than risk independence given the requirements to travel potentially to the other side of the world, the implied requirements stop paid work to progress unpaid work, etc.

Fix the open data funding mechanisms and fix everything faster.

In the meantime, I have milestones and deep insights on bitcoin and blockchain and the Isle of Man gambling regulator is expected to legalise bitcoin transactions in July 2016 so I would welcome an open data CSR fellowship, an advisory board role or project specific consultancy!

 

Incorporations in Google Maps

Google Maps front end to OpenCorporates

http://incorporations.openmindedly.com

The open data community often talks about how open government programmes let volunteer developers and civil society funded projects help end users such as citizens, taxpayers and voters but the largest end users of open data are typically governments, financial services companies, international charities and even gambling companies.

Chris Taggart was a speaker at a British Computer Society Isle of Man open data unconference in early 2011.

I originally configured a map in late 2011 to help less digital end users at the Isle of Man Government in Income Tax, economic development, foreign aid and regulators leverage other government open data as an opportunity to demonstrate value and to build momentum on an open government programme.  It helped visualise incorporations to non-technical end users and helped end users without English to access the data:

screenshot

Corporate Register: Isle of Man

With previous expertise as a legal compliance officer in an offshore companies registry and as a group IT manager in global wealth managers and, prompted by email threads with Chris Taggart, James McKinney and others, I realised that Incorporations League Tables could visualise expertise by SIC code and year on year market share trends but it also surfaced issues such as free text registered office addresses, free text officer names, aged shelf companies, excessive directorships and client dumping in SAR frameworks:

Incorporations League Table

Incorporations League Table: Isle of Man

I recently noted 31 extra jurisdictions since early 2015 and updated the map:

  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Belgium
  • Canada: New Brunswick
  • Canada: Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Cyprus
  • Hong Kong
  • Latvia
  • Myanmar
  • Tajikistan
  • Uganda
  • USA: Alabama
  • USA: Arkansas
  • USA: Colorado
  • USA: Delaware
  • USA: Hawaii
  • USA: Indiana
  • USA: Kansas
  • USA: Kentucky
  • USA: Minnesota
  • USA: Nebraska
  • USA: Nevada
  • USA: New Hampshire
  • USA: New York
  • USA: North Carolina
  • USA: North Dakota
  • USA: South Carolina
  • USA: Utah
  • USA: Virginia
  • USA: Wisconsin
  • Viet Nam

Is there a prioritised list of extra jurisdictions and is it reshaped by events such as #PanamaPapers or just limited by volunteer efforts?