New directions in beneficial ownership transparency—focused on establishing the actual owners or beneficiaries of entities—have emerged as a critical driver of progress in combating corruption. The importance of beneficial ownership transparency was highlighted during the Summit for Democracy in December 2021 and reflected in the commitments of multiple nations. Efforts to establish national legislative and regulatory regimes for beneficial ownership examine key questions of how to advance accuracy and approach the accessibility of beneficial ownership registries for key stakeholders. No mere technocratic endeavor, reforms in beneficial ownership transparency promise to provide a critical missing link in efforts to promote financial transparency and integrity in the modern fight against corruption.
On September 7, the Brookings Institution convened in person and also streamed online a seminar to address the role of beneficial ownership transparency in combating corruption and explore ways to advance commitments on beneficial ownership transparency in the lead-up to the second Summit for Democracy in 2023 and beyond. Brookings Senior Fellow Norm Eisen moderated a fireside chat with Mária Kolíková, minister of justice of the Slovak Republic, who spoke to Slovakia’s experience as one of the first countries to implement a public beneficial ownership register, and Elizabeth Rosenberg, assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, who offered reflections on the anti-corruption landscape, including beneficial ownership transparency. Following the fireside chat, Jonathan Katz of the German Marshall Fund of the United States moderated a panel discussion with several experts from civil society and the private sector to highlight challenges and opportunities for beneficial ownership transparency reform globally.
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